4 Mar 2004

Opposition to law allowing manufacture of guns in Fiji

10:07 am on 4 March 2004

Civil society in Fiji is demanding the repeal of a recently passed law which allows the local manufacture of arms and ammunition.

The Daily Post reports that women community leaders, trade union representatives, non-government organisations and female lawyers have joined forces and come out strongly against the manufacture of arms and ammunition in Fiji.

A spokesperson for the group, Adi Ema Tagicakibau, says women have an important role in the prevention of further armed conflict in Fiji by targeting existing gun laws.

Adi Ema, who was one of the hostages held at gunpoint in parliament during the May 2000 coup, says the power given to the minister for Home Affairs to issue licenses for the manufacture of guns can be subject to political interference and corruption.

She says for women this represents a grave threat to sustainable peace and the security of their children, and the development and good governance of Fiji when the country is still healing from the traumatic events of 2000.

Adi Ema says recent reports of the sale of home-made guns in the northern division, the increasing number of armed robberies and the unknown number of military weapons still missing after the coup pose grave security threats to all right-thinking persons.

She says allowing the manufacture of arms and ammunition in Fiji will only aggravate the situation and compromise the rule of law.