17 Mar 2012

Fiji solicitor says chiefs want to keep talking to Bainimarama

5:36 am on 17 March 2012

A Fiji solicitor says his country's chiefs want to keep talking to the interim prime minister, despite his decision to dissolve their ruling body.

Commodore Bainimarama this week announced legislation that will disestablish the great Council of Chiefs, and assumed responsibility for appointing the chairs of provincial councils.

Nikolau Nawaikula says such legislation requires the consent of indigenous people or itaukei and is among the interim government's continuing efforts to erode itaukei rights in Fiji.

He says he'll be addressing the United Nations again later this year on that issue but the chiefs' main aim is keep their communication lines with the regime open.

"To tell them look, this is a right that is mandated by the UN, we have to respect it and whatever happens you'll be accounted for that. Because that is basic human rights, it's human rights for indigenous people and you'll be accountable for that by the international community."

Nikolau Nawaikula says Fiji's itaukei are silent on the issue because they are afraid of repercussions.