7 Apr 2004

Forum to probe claim of harassment at SPREP

3:48 pm on 7 April 2004

An investigation is to be carried out by the Pacific Islands Forum into the dismissal of two women from the Samoa-based environment organisation SPREP.

The Auckland based lawyer who is handling the case of one of the women has accused SPREP's director general, Asterio Takesy, of harassment and violating the women's human rights.

Olinda Woodroffe has called on Pacific governments to intervene and the Cook Islands Prime Minister, Dr Robert Woonton, raised the dismissal at the mini summit in Auckland.

Mr Takesy has dismissed the claims, saying the a fair process has been misconstrued as harassment.

But Mrs Woodroffe says has the backing of all 15 Pacific leaders, including the the head of the Pacific Islands Forum.

"All the leaders have expressed serious concern about what he has raised and where it goes from here. I also had a very good meeting with Greg Urwin this morning who assured me that he has already contacted Fiji to start the process."

Olinda Woodroffe.