14 Jun 2005

Activists claim Fiji Reconciliation Bill breaches rights conventions

9:30 am on 14 June 2005

International lawyers for the Fiji Women's Rights Movement say the government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill breaches several United Nations Conventions and international agreements.

These include the UN's Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and two UN conventions outlawing discrimination against women.

As well, the Bill is said to breach the UN's Millenium Declaration, and the Cotonou Trade and Aid Agreement between the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

The coordinator of the Fiji Women's Rights Movement, Virisila Buadromo, says the Cotonou Agreement requires respect for the rule of law and human rights.

She says the suspension of European Union aid could have serious consequences.

Meanwhile, Fiji authorities have rejected an application for the Movement to stage a protest march by 5,000 people against the Bill.

The commissioner central, Inoke Devo, says people with grievances against the Bill should take them to the parliamentary committee headed by Manasa Tugia, who is a MP for the pro-coup Conservative Alliance party.