Foreign Minister Bob Carr today welcomed action by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to maintain pressure on the interim Fiji Government to restore democracy and uphold human rights and the rule of law.
Senator Carr acknowledged there were signs of progress in Fiji, including statements by the interim Government earlier this year that it would move to restore democracy.
He said however, the interim Fiji Government would need to implement the commitments it has given to the people of Fiji and the international community on restoring democracy, the rule of law and human rights before it could be reinstated as a full member of the Commonwealth family.
He also raised concerns about a number of trade unionists who have in recent months been detained by the military and the police in Fiji.
Speaking in London as the newly elected Vice-Chair of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, Senator Carr raised concerns about the treatment of Daniel Urai, President of Fiji Trade Union Congress, Felix Anthony, National Secretary of Fiji Trade Union Congress and the Secretary of the Fiji Pilots Association.
"I remain concerned about continuing restrictions on Fijians and oppressive decrees including those on the press and on labour freedoms.
"At CMAG I specifically raised concerns about a number of trade unionists who have in recent months been detained by the military and the police.
"These individuals were in some cases held in detention and later released without charge. In one instance, it is alleged that one unionist was beaten while in detention.
"While there has been some progress in Fiji, I'd like to see a strong trend toward democracy and the rule of law right across the board."
"CMAG comprises nine Commonwealth countries: Australia (Vice-Chair) Bangladesh, Canada, Jamaica, Maldives (in abeyance), Sierra Leone, Trinidad and Tobago (Chair) and Vanuatu," Senator Carr said.
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