28 Jun 2016

Rabuka urged to apologise directly to Fiji coup victims

10:06 am on 28 June 2016
The leader of Fiji's opposition SODELPA party, Sitiveni Rabuka.

The leader of Fiji's opposition SODELPA party, Sitiveni Rabuka. Photo: AFP

A human rights lawyer in Fiji says the appointment of Sitiveni Rabuka as leader of the main opposition party is disturbing.

Aman Ravindra-Singh said Mr Rabuka's 1987 coup led to the gross violation of human rights and people fleeing Fiji for asylum in countries like New Zealand and Australia.

The former military commander was later elected prime minister and governed until 1999, seeing in a new constitution for Fiji and apologising several times for the coup.

Mr Ravindra-Singh said those apologies were half-hearted and calculated and Mr Rabuka must make genuine apologies directly to the many people who suffered at the time.

"There was a lot of blood flowing in the streets of Fiji due to the brutality of his troops which involved long periods of detention, people being beaten up by the military and the police, people being tortured," said Mr Ravindra-Singh.

"Rabuka is now being glorified by making a comeback and if anything old wounds are being opened up."

Mr Ravindra-Singh said Fiji would only be able to move forward when such issues had been addressed.

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