28 May 2004

Commonwealth rejects criticism over Fiji removal from CMAG list

12:36 pm on 28 May 2004

The Commonwealth secretary general, Don McKinnon, has justified the removal of Fiji from a special watchlist, saying constitutional problems are being resolved in the courts.

The Fiji opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says this sends a mixed signal from the international community because Amnesty International has just highlighted what it calls the ongoing problem of impunity for human rights abuses.

Mr McKinnon says Mr Beddoes is playing politics by wanting to keep Fiji on the so-called CMAG watchlist.

"Well that's fairly normal because we always find when a country gets taken off CMAG's list there are a number of people with obviously political interests who says it would rather be on because that's furthering our interests. Ministers don't want to get caught up in that issue or that part of domestic politics. Essentially, what was the reason they were on CMAG and ministers have clearly said it's time they came off."

Don McKinnon