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Regime wants refugee camp investigated

Issue No: 215; 21 November 2000

The interim regime says it wants the Lautoka refugee camp investigated for human rights abuses.

In a press statement released today (21 November) the regime stated:

"What has been said by those who have been kicked out of the camp, is a confirmation of what has been suspected all along. At the pretext of being victims of violence at Muaniweni and Dawasamu some of those who sought shelter at the refugee did a good job of painting a very inhumane and violent picture of Fiji, to the international community, just so they could acquire migration visas overseas.. Serious allegations have been made, such allegations warrant immediate investigations into the running of the camp. It will not be surprising to find that a number of people are involved in what is really a shady scheme to exploit vulnerable people who have been made to think that they are powerless and therefore dependent on their camp administrators.

The statement further added: "With all these allegations of uncouth behaviour and unreasonable demands made at the camp, it can no longer be taken seriously as a centre for protecting displaced people".

The refugee camp was established for the victims of terrorist attacks in the Muaniweni and Dawasamu areas after 19 May. Over 300 refugees, who have lost their homes and belongings, reside in the camp.

Another camp has been established in Valelawa in Vanua Levu for farmers who have been evicted from their farms by the Native Lands Trust Board. By the end of the year, about 100 families would move into the Valelawa camp.

In western Viti Levu, another camp is being planned to sheltered the farmers from the West who have been evicted. In one area only - Lovu near Lautoka - over 80 farming families will be evicted by end of December.

During the next 15 months, thousands of farmers, mostly ethnic Indians, are being evicted from their farms by the Native Lands Trust Board.

END 21 November 2000


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