27 Oct 2009

Fiji Labour Party calls for probe of alleged brutality against cane farmers

2:17 pm on 27 October 2009

The Fiji Labour Party says allegations of brutality against cane farmers are to be investigated, describing the situation as alarming.

The Party says the interim defence minister, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, has asked the military's chief of staff to look into claims made by the National Farmers Union of intimidation, harassment and torture at the hands of the military.

The Union has highlighted a number of cases of abuses and also written to the interim prime minister and the acting president.

It has also called for independent investigations into the reports.

The Fiji Labour Party, whose leader quit the post-coup interim administration last year, earlier this month condemned the extension of emergency rule which was imposed in April.

Fiji's human rights record worsened after the military took power in a coup three years ago.

But the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, told the United Nations that he had to remove the elected government because it was using terror to push a racist and corrupt agenda.