Thursday, January 12, 2012

Disgust at Lying Fiji Regime for Reinstating Tight Controls on Freedom

As to be expected, read below reactions to the disgusting behaviour of the repressive military regime in Fiji for reinstating much of the draconian controls on freedom and rights of citizens following its lifting of the equally hated Public Emergency Regulations (PER). In its place, a new Public Order Decree was put in place, which, on close scrutiny, is equally or more draconian that its predecessor. And that is what the Dictator Bainimarama and his illegal AG, Khaiyum regard as "modernisation" and "ëmpowering" for the people of Fiji. 

The actions just goes to show how dishonest the Dictator Bainimarama really is and how threatened he is  of a return to full freedom for the people of Fiji as that would mean his demise and certain imprisonment. But he knows full well how much his regime is so hated and loathed that he will do whatever it takes to hang on to power. That is what Dictators do because no one wants them in power in a free and democratic environment.

We have said it before on this blog and will say it again, Dictator Bainimarama's intention is to rule in perpetuity unless and until he is tossed out by force. Fiji and its people should bear that in mind and regard all his moves at returning to free rule as a sham, dishonest and feet dragging exercise, just to bide time to bribe enough people to enable him victory in any botched up elections.
Dictator Bainimarama - Frightened of losing power!



New Fiji Clampdown Puts Firm Lid on Freedom

Fiji’s military regime is tightening its grip on power despite lifting emergency regulations only days ago.

The military dictatorship has given itself huge powers under a public order decree which cannot be legally challenged.

Under the new rules, anyone who takes part in what is considered a meeting with no permit – even if it is in a private home – faces up to five years in prison.

Soldiers can take on the role of police officers, and if there is a meeting and they feel public safety is at risk they can use whatever force necessary including the use of arms.

Any decision made under the public order decree cannot be challenged in court.

The Fijian Government says the laws have been designed to prevent dangerous elements from threatening the promised elections in 2014.

“This modernisation is necessary to effectively address terrorism, offenses against public order and safety, racial and religious vilification, hate speech, and economic sabotage,” said Commodore Frank Bainimarama

But New Zealand Law Society says the new rules are draconian.
“When any legislature, any lawmaker tries to oust the jurisdiction of the court, they do that for only one reason – because they know their conduct wont stand scrutiny,” said Law Society president Jonathan Temm.

Temm says New Zealanders going to Fiji should be aware of the new rules.

“They are moving into a regime where the rule of law is not being abided by as they would expect in Australia and New Zealand.”

Power grab
Former Lieutenant Colonel with the Fijian army Ratu Tevita Mara said the new decree is further evidence Frank Bainimarama is trying to tighten grip.

“He has no intention of giving up power,” Mara said.

Foreign minister Murray McCully says he is disappointed this decree reproduces restrictions on freedom of expression.

He said he hopes the regime understands the international community is watching for signs that public consultations due to start next month happens in an environment where there can be genuine political debate. 

ONE News pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver said the controls are “extremely drastic.” “When I was reading through the act today it gave me huge concern,” she told TVNZ News at 8. “I’ve known it’s a military dictatorship, but when you see the powers that this military regime now has, it is cause for huge concern. “If the police kill someone under this act, which they can do – they’re allowed to use arms at a meeting if they’re trying to break it up – they can not be held accountable in court.”

Controls under the decree include:
- The minister can prohibit the manufacture, sale use display or possession of any flag, banner, badge, emblem, device, picture, photo, uniform or distinctive dress.
- Commissioner of Police or a Divisional Police Commander can prohibit or put conditions on processions, meetings or assembly in any place.

- Anyone who takes part in a meeting, public and private, for which no permit has been issued, or contravenes the permit is guilty and shall be liable to a $10,000 fine or 5 years in prison.

- A commissioner of police, concerned about someone likely to cause or provoke a breach of the peace, can make someone live in an area/place where specified and not leave that area/place, give a curfew to, not allow to leave Fiji, make pay a bond of good behaviour.

- Any member of the Fiji military forces can do all the duties and functions of a prisons officer or police officer.

- No court, tribunal, commissioner can accept, hear, determine or challenge at law any decision made by Commissioner of Police, minister or any public official under this act.


Fiji’s Broken Promise Disappoints Australian Government

Australia Associated Press
The federal government’s hopes that Fiji had begun the march back towards democracy have been dashed by the military regime’s latest broken promise.

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama drew rare – albeit cautious – international praise when he announced earlier his intention this month to lift draconian public emergency regulations that had been in place since April 2009.

But Bainimarama’s announcement now appears to have been little more than a publicity stunt after he enacted new laws giving him many of the same powers he had under emergency rule.

The government’s Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Richard Marles said the move had dashed his hopes that Commodore Bainimarama – who seized power in a 2006 coup – was ready to start restoring democracy.

“It’s very disappointing,” Mr Marles told AAP on Wednesday.

“There has been a history in Fiji since 2006 of the interim regime making promises and not honouring them.

“We are just not seeing the kind of actions that we would want to see if we were to have any confidence at all that we were witnessing a return to democracy in Fiji.”

Mr Marles said it was clear the Fijian regime had to be judged on its actions, not its words. He also said the new laws did not leave him with much hope that the regime’s planned consultations for a new constitution – scheduled to begin next month – would be credible. “We look to that consultation process now with a great deal of concern,” he said. “It will only be credible if it does involve the full political spectrum in Fiji. “And it will be very plain for all of us to see whether that consultation is fair dinkum or not.”

Earlier, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the government would wait to see real reform on the ground in Fiji before reconsidering its sanctions against the regime.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions said the federal government should consider imposing stronger economic sanctions on Fiji in the wake of the new laws.

ACTU president Ged Kearney said under the laws, anyone who campaigns for workplace rights can be labelled a terrorist and jailed indefinitely.

“This new decree is even more draconian and places even more restrictions on the rights of Fijians than past laws,” she said in a statement. “The Australian government cannot turn a blind eye.”


Democracy Hopes Dashed by Fijian Regime’s New Powers

BRENDAN TREMBATH: It’s been nearly five days since the military regime of Fiji lifted emergency powers which banned public meetings and censored the media, but critics say new laws are even more repressive. A public order decree gives security forces the power to use weapons to break up meetings. It also allows people to be held for weeks without access to the courts.

Simon Lauder reports.

SIMON LAUDER: The lifting of public emergency regulations last weekend raised hopes that democracy will return to Fiji. The CEO of the Citizens Constitutional Forum in Fiji, Akuila Yabaki, says those hopes have been dashed with the introduction of a new decree which severely limits rights and freedoms.

AKUILA YABAKI: The decree does not specify how long such, quote, “temporary control of persons”, end quote, is permitted. And begs the question, it could be perceived as an instrument to limit the rights of selected individuals from speaking out openly and freely.

SIMON LAUDER: The Public Order Amendment Decree gives sweeping powers to members of the Fiji military forces and police to deal with anyone deemed likely to be involved in a breach of the peace.

AKUILA YABAKI: They would now be able to arrest civilians and conduct the duties of a police officer and prison officers, if so directed by the commissioner of police, who is himself a highly placed military officer, he’s a brigadier.

SIMON LAUDER: And are you concerned that the public order amendment will limit the ability of people to organise themselves in political discussions and meetings?

AKUILA YABAKI: Tomorrow some of us NGO civil societies are meeting with the police officers who are going to be in charge of the procedures of how you get the permits and things. But we do know now, according to what’s available in local media, those who have been deemed to be trouble making since the last coup, they’ve been reminded that they need permits in order to organise their meetings. We do not think we belong to that category, but we will soon learn tomorrow.

SIMON LAUDER: The Fiji Labour Party, which has been elected to govern Fiji twice and thrown out of government in a coup twice, has released a statement declaring the new decree more draconian and repressive than the emergency laws it replaces. 

Von Driu is a spokesman for the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement. He says the new decree will prevent any effective opposition.

VON DRIU: If in the future when Bainimarama’s party that we will go for the 2014 election, they will be the ones who will be promoted under the public order decree and not the opposition.

SIMON LAUDER: What do you think will happen to the opposition?

VON DRIU: People who will talk in opposition with the current regime, they are being silenced.

SIMON LAUDER: Australia’s Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, says he won’t consider lifting targeted sanctions on members of the Bainimarama regime until there is real change in Fiji.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Simon Lauder reporting.


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