May 8, 2009

FDFM fundraising rally

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 09:44
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THE Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement has organised a rally in Sydney for tomorrow evening. The gathering will also act as a campaign fundraiser for the newly-formed organisation.

FDFM president Usaia Waqatairewa said movement executives would also brief the Fiji community about the planned march and public rally in the Sydney Central Business District on May 24.

“Speakers [at tomorrow’s event] include those who have had the unpleasant experience of crossing paths with the Commodore Bainimarama-led military dictatorship,” Waqatairewa said. They include:

  • Arthur Lord, a senior management board member of the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party of deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. “He wears the badge of having been taken to the military camp for some ‘re-education’ treatment in the last two years.”
  • Jacque Koroi, Pacific Youth Council president and former Fiji Youth Prime Minister. She was a vocal critic of the 2006 coup, and while still at high school had the unpleasant experience of being picked up on Christmas Eve in 2006, taken to the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Suva and tortured by soldiers; and
  • Retired Colonel Jone Baledrokadroka, former Land Forces commander of the Fiji Military Forces. Baledrokadroka was second in command to Bainimarama but resigned in disgust at the way the role of the  military was being politicised.

Waqatairewa said money raised at tomorrow’s event would be used to cover the cost of the proposed Sydney march and for the extension of the movement through other states in Australia. – fiji uncensored

  • Tomorrow’s curry night fundraiser and rally will be held at Marrickville Town Hall, 303 Marrickville Road, Marrickville. Doors will open at 6pm.

Youth network attacks regime for early release

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 09:16
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THE Young People’s Concerned Network has expressed its disappointment at the release of eight soldiers and policemen who were convicted four weeks ago for the death of Sakiusa Rabaka.

In a blunt press statement, the group said the release of the men, who were found guilty of manslaughter, was a crime in itself.

“This is a human right violation and a miscarriage of justice. This act has made a mockery of the justice system and placed even less trust in the leadership of this country,” the statement said.

“[It] is totally unfair and speaks volumes of the value for youth in Fiji by those in authority.”

Since 2007, YCPN has campaigned for better standards for youth as well as the protection of young people in Fiji. “We have used the memory of Rabaka as the cornerstone of our work and fuel for our passion.”

The group sent a delegation of members to visit Rabaka and his family when he was admitted at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. “We argued that young people should not be detained just for being youths, as was the case at the time.

“We lobbied many stakeholders, even the then Interim Government for the immediate halt of youth hate crimes organised by the security forces.

“Through certain blog sites which reported on the hospitalisation and death of Rabaka, the YCPN carried a huge part in informing and discussing the implications of youth hate crimes.”

The group said the 2006 coup was conducted in the name of corruption and the release of coup sympathisers from Fiji prisons has been part of Voreqe Bainimarama’s coup agenda.

“Young people who provided testimony in the Rabaka trial are also directly in harms way,” the statement said. – fiji uncensored

UN leaves door open for Fiji peacekeepers

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 08:28
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THE United Nations has not excluded Fiji soldiers and police officers from peacekeeping duties.

Chief of the public affairs unit at the Department of UN Peacekeeping Operations Nick Birnback said the UN had not altered its stance of dealing with peacekeepers on a case-by-case basis.

Speaking on ABC Radio on Wednesday, Birnback said any requests for additional peacekeepers and any potential offers they received would be evaluated case-by-case. “So if we were asked to do a new mission for example, we would have a troop contributing countries conference and we would ask those that could contribute to contribute and then we would look at each of those sets of offers on a case by case basis.

Birnback did not directly answer a question on whether the abrogation of the 1997 Constitution would have a bearing on the UN’s decision.

“In general the UN, in particular UN peacekeeping, is an operational organisation so the first thing we’d look at is can the forces that were being offered do the jobs that they’ve been assigned,” he said in response.

“Obviously we would take a wide variety of considerations into account in making decisions and that is the political, the logistical, the administrative and what have you.

“And again each potential offer of a contribution would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. So if we were to launch a new mission we would look at the offers we got and then we would make a decision based on what was in front of us.”

The UN was forced to clarify its position after Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said a week ago that Fiji soldiers would no longer be recruited for UN operations.

Birnback would not comment on Rudd’s widely reported claim, but said they did everything possible to vet the conduct of individual officers before they were deployed.

“The United Nations has 192 member states. Over 100 contribute to United Nations peacekeeping and we take troops, police and civilians from all over the world. We count on them when they’re deployed to adhere to the highest standards of conduct and behaviour.

“We do everything possible to vet the individual conduct of officers before they’re deployed. Having said that, we also have 113,000 forces in the field and it’s important for us to have the best quality forces that we can but also to make sure that they arrive in a timely fashion and so as a result the forces that we get are frequently drawn from militaries that are able to provide them to us at relatively short notice and we do what we can with the forces that we’re given.” – fiji uncensored

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