14 Mar 2005

Fiji urged to sign UN convention on mercenaries

7:47 pm on 14 March 2005

Fiji has been urged to ratify the United Nations Convention Against the Recruitment, Use and Training of Mercenaries.

Radio Fiji reports that the call has come from the UN special rapporteur on mercenaries, Dr Shaista Shameem, following concerns that Fiji may be supplying mercenaries to Iraq.

The UN Convention prohibits the recruitment, use, training and financing of mercenaries in armed conflicts because mercenary activities extend warfare.

The use of mercenaries is also prohibited because it violates principles of international law such as political independence, territorial integrity of states and self-determination of people.

Dr Shameem says there has been some misunderstanding by the public on the role of Fiji security servicemen working for the United Nations in Iraq, including references to the troops as mercenaries in the media.

She has asked the government to what extent it is monitoring the activities of recruiting companies for possible deployment in armed forces abroad and measures taken to minimise their use for illegitimate purposes.