10 May 2004

Call for compensation for indentured labourers sent to Fiji

3:26 pm on 10 May 2004

There's been a call for compensation in Fiji for the descendants of Indian indentured labourers brought to work the cane fields in the 19th century.

The Daily Post reports call comes from a former USP historian and now government senator, Dr Ahmed Ali.

It coincides with the 125th anniversary later this week of the arrival of the first Indians under a system of semi-slavery known as indenture.

Dr Ali says the compensation should be for exploitation, disruption of family life and violence suffered by the indentured labourers.

Dr Ali says Britain was prepared to pay compensation to European farmers in Zimbabwe who stole indigenous land.

He says Indians in Fiji and their forefathers worked hard and stole nothing from anyone.

Dr Ali says they have a right to compensation.

He says in the light of new human rights ideology and legal judgments, the British should establish a fund from which the poorer elements of the Indian community can be educated.