1 Sep 2005

Fiji opposition wants Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to consider unity bill

10:17 am on 1 September 2005

The Fiji Labour Party will use the current Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting in Nadi to voice its concerns over the government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry is currently in Queensland meeting state parliamentarians and trade union officials to brief them on the implications of the Bill.

But in a statement from Brisbane, Mr Chaudhry says the CPA is the appropriate forum to discuss the proposed legislation.

He says this was because of the Bill's direct assault on human rights, the rule of law, and as a percursor to state-sanctioned excuse to release terrorists.

Mr Chaudhry says the Bill was in direct violation of the Commonwealth's own Harare Declaration.

As such, he says, it should attract the sanction of the Council of the Commonwealth and may put Fiji back on the Commonwealth Watch Group.

Mr Chaudhry said the Commonwealth secretary general, Don McKinnon, has rightly said the Bill should reflect the views of Fiji's people, but this has not been the case because the government has ignored the military, the police, concerned groups and ordinary people.