Tuesday, October 25, 2011

UN agency urged to drop Bainimarama from Geneva summit

Posted by Coup Four Point Five - 25 October 2011

Swearing allegiance - but to what?
More international opposition today to dictator Frank Bainimarama taking the podium to promote the so-called achievements of his illegal government.

The UNI Global Union, which represents 900 trade unions and 20 million workers worldwide, is calling on the International Telecommunication Union to withdraw its invitation to Bainimarama to address the ITU World Conference today in Geneva. 
The ITU is the United Nations agency for information and communications technologies.  

Bainimarama recently attended the UN's Generaly Assembly in New York and has now been invited to speak at the Broadband Leadership Summit.

UNI has, however, written to the ITU reminding it that Bainimarama is a dictator trying to legitimise his rule.

In a strongly-worded letter to the ITU secretary-general, Hamadoun Touré, UNI's general secretary, Philip Jennings, says Bainimarama was left off the invite list for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth this week because of his illegal takeover and poor human rights record.

Jennings says: "The invitation to the Commodore brings shame on the ITU by giving a public and global platform which he is now using to legitimate his regime." 

He adds: "[Bainimarama is] a leader who has no democratic mandate but took power by force."

In his letter, Jennings also points out to the ITU that the International Trade Union Confederation has reported the regime's oppression of trade unions and recent efforts to marginalise it.

Jennings offered to hold an emergency meeting with the ITU as soon as possible to discuss the matter further.

Bainimara's inclusion at the Geneva ITU summit has also been criticised by the international officer for the British Trade Union Council (TUC), Owen Tudor.

On the TUC blog site under the heading "Commonwealth: Fiji pretends there was a better party to go to, anyway", Tudor says Bainimarama would rather attend the Geneva summit than the CHOGM meeting in Australia because he doesn't have to explain the regime's oppressive behaviour, especially the newly-introduced Essential Industries Decree.

Tudor says Bainimarama would be made to account for the way he is running Fiji and in particular the recent anti-worker and anti-union decree.

"The Decree is the latest in a long line of repressive measures introduced by Fiji's military dictatorship, and is another example of what got Fiji suspended from the Commonwealth in 2009. Which is the real reason Frank is in Geneva this week instead of Perth: his peers don't want him there – suspended countries can't attend.

"However, straight out of the guide to being a dictator (in this case remarkably similar to the guide to being a whining teenager with no friends) Frank maintains he's too busy because he's been invited to a much better party down the road.

"The Commonwealth Trade Union Group delegation (the largest ever at a CHOGM) will be urging the other Heads of Government to include some rather stiff words about Fiji and its repression of trade unions in their final communique. And the International Trade Union Confederation has agreed an action plan to step up our solidarity with Fijian trade unions, whose President Daniel Urai is in Perth to tell delegates about how he was arrested just for meeting with his members."

Commonwealth: Fiji pretends there was a better party to go to, anyway
UNI protests against the ITU invite to Frank Bainimarama
Phillip Jennings letter to the ITU

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