31 May 2005

Fiji still discriminates against non-indigenous, says Amnesty International

10:17 am on 31 May 2005

The human rights group, Amnesty International says the Fiji government continues to discriminate against non-indigenous communities.

Amnesty's latest, annual report says discrimination against ethnic minorities is evident in plans for an indigenous Trust Fund, and in the appointment of indigenous Fijians to almost all chief executive posts in the public service.

The report says Fiji's political leaders failed to agree on the implementation of a court ruling on constitutional power-sharing provisions after the Fiji Labour Party rejected a government offer to participate in the cabinet.

Amnesty says some judges presiding over coup-related cases were threatened and had to be given police protection while one of the witnesses in a trial had lost her job at a government-owned entity.

It says Ratu Epeli Ganilau was removed as chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs because he advocated views that were different from the government's, on human rights and social issues.

But Amnesty says Fiji police improved their accountability for abuses of power and at least 10 officers were suspended from duty awaiting disciplinary or criminal charges.

It says police intensified investigations into 55 officers who facilitated the coup, including the former commissioner, Colonel Isikia Savua who was made Fiji's ambassador to the United Nations in January 2003.