20 Feb 2007

Eminent Persons Group report calls for Bainimarama resignation

6:43 am on 20 February 2007

The Pacific Forum's Eminent Persons Group which visited Fiji last month wants the interim prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama, to resign and be replaced by a civilian.

The EPG says the military should be asked to take immediate steps to withdraw from its involvement in the interim government, with a view to restoring civilian rule as soon as possible.

Their 21-page report says the interim prime minister should order the return to barracks of all soldiers who have not done so after the handover of rule to a civilian administration on January the 4th.

The eminent persons have called on the interim administration to commit without delay to a roadmap with measurable milestones to restore democratic rule.

They say that in their view this should take between 18 months and 2 years.

The eminent persons say they believe the interim administration should de-link the election timetable from its clean-up campaign, except in those areas linked to the electoral process.

They have urged the interim administration to immediately cease all human rights abuses and to restrict its activities to four areas.

These are to uphold the 1997 Constitution, respect and uphold Fiji's domestic and international obligations, the military to cease all interference with the judiciary, and ensure that all citizens are free to seek legal redress in courts in relation to events on or after December the 5th.

The report says if the interim administration adheres to its recommendations, the Pacific Forum will consider a package of assistance to Fiji.