11 Dec 2003

Fiji chief calls for coup investigations to end

11:23 am on 11 December 2003

One of Fiji's highest chiefs has called for investigations into the May 2000 coup to be halted and all political prisoners released.

Adi Litia Cakobau, who is a senator, told the Upper House that the events of 2000 were political expressions.

Adi Litia says to criminalise freedom of expression is to criminalise democracy.

She says Fiji needs to put the coup behind it.

"We are very caring and generous and forgiving people. We have in the past been allowed to bury the past in the past. What we want to do now is to hold hands and march forward into the future, because we are moving into a new era in Fiji's history."

Adi Litia also says Indian academics who call their studies "Fijian studies" are writing the indigenous Fijian people out of existence through what she calls acts of ethnocide.

She has called on the Government to legislate an ethnic identity bill to criminalise the use of the word Fijian by any ethnic group not constitutionally defined as indigenous Fijian.