6 Feb 2006

Global legal body against Fiji's Reconciliation and Unity Bill

5:29 am on 6 February 2006

The International Bar Association, the global voice of the legal profession, says the Fiji government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill will only divide and not unite the two major races in the country.

The Sunday Times reports that the IBA's finding has come at the request of the Fiji Law Society, which asked the international body to review the Bill and comment on its consistency with international law standards.

The IBA says the Bill, which seeks to establish a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission in respect of the 2000 coup, has divided the country with little prospect of the hoped for unity between the two main races.

It says the victims of the coup have neither had restitution nor redress, and this has led to further unrest and division in Fiji.

Th International Bar Association says Fiji would violate international law if amnesty were granted for gross violations of human rights during the May 2000 crisis.

The IBA says it may be a mistake for the Fiji government to link the amnesty process to that of truth seeking.

A copy of the IBA's report has been given to the Fiji government, which is currently amending the Bill.