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More Disturbing News from Fiji

NZCTU Media Release

20 February 2013

More Disturbing News from Fiji

The Council of Trade Unions is concerned that yet another decree from the Fiji Military dictatorship is curtailing the ability of political parties to participate in any election process.

Peter Conway, CTU Secretary said "the decrees are not only draconian but are also confusing. One decree is issued and parties have tried to register on that basis and then the goal post is changed with another decree."

"It looks like the Government is intent on wiping out the political opposition before any election commences in 2014."

"In recent months we have seen the Fijian Government reject the draft constitution drawn up after extensive consultation by the commission the Government itself established, issue a decree on the registration of political parties while also banning trade union and employer representatives from joining political parties and standing as candidates. It has now been revealed that 14 of Fiji's 17 current political parties have not qualified for registration."

"The most recent decree has gone even further with restrictions on union and employer involvement in politics while also making it illegal to report about a political party in the news media unless it has met the requirements of the new regulations. Even mentioning the name of a political party that is, effectively, banned under these decrees could lead to a large fine and 5 years in prison."

"Unionists have been prevented from being able to effectively carry out their role representing workers, in some cases union leaders have been assaulted and imprisoned, and now they are being deliberately excluded from any political involvement".

"It is essential that Murray McCully, on behalf of the New Zealand Government, condemns these decrees as an attack on democracy," said Peter Conway.

"How can we be confident of free and fair elections when the constitutional review and the registration process for political parties are so blatantly unfair and undemocratic?"

ENDS

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