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Now is not the time to appoint a High Commissioner to Fiji

CTU Media Release

17 January 2013

Now is not the time to appoint a High Commissioner to Fiji

The CTU has consistently warned the New Zealand Government over being too hasty in praising the Fijian military regime for its progress and now reiterates grave concerns for democratic progress and free and fair elections.

CTU Secretary Peter Conway says "throwing out the newly drafted constitution that was developed by a commission in favour of one that bans groups of people from forming political parties is a serious threat to any form of free and fair elections. New Zealand has put money and faith in the constitutional review process and that is now turning into a farce."

"The CTU wrote to Minister McCully late last year warning him of our growing concerns about the constitutional review process, and we will be calling on the Minister to condemn this latest move."

"Banning groups of people, including trade unionists who have been some of the strongest supporters of a return to democratic elections, from forming political parties is a blatant attack on democracy and is a chilling indicator of the regimes intentions."

"This latest move to remove Fijian people's human rights around freedom of association and democracy shows it is clearly not the right time for New Zealand to appoint a High Commissioner to Fiji," said Peter Conway.

"We have long stated to the government our concerns about the regime's intentions to return to democracy. Elections were once promised for 2009, now scheduled for 2014, but this latest announcement banning trade unionists and other groups from forming political parties shows the hollow intentions of the regime of holding elections or making any meaningful progress back to democracy."

"The Fijian military regime has consistently targeted, harassed and intimated Fijian union officials and members, this latest move is a step further to marginalise groups outside of the current regime. New Zealand should not appoint a High Commissioner to Fiji while these kinds of attacks to democracy are continuing," said Peter Conway.

ENDS

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