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NGOCHR: Harassment and arrests of trade unionists must stop

NGOCHR: Harassment and arrests of trade unionists must stop


28/06/19


The NGO Coalition for Human Rights (NGOCHR) is deeply troubled with the last night's arrest of Fiji Trade Union Congress (FTUC) National Secretary Felix Anthony. The continuous harassment and arrests of trade unionists must stop.


“This show of intimidation against the trade union is disturbing, shocking and deeply disappointing. We stand with Fiji trade unions to condemn this action and demand that workers rights and human rights be respected,” said NGOCHR Chair Nalini Singh.


According to the FTUC statement, Mr Anthony was arrested at 10.30pm in front of family members and detained at the Lautoka Courthouse cell bock. This took place after warnings from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) against the harassment of trade unionists and Fiji's reassurance to address labour law reform commitments made by the government in 2016.


“The timing of these arrests is a concern and threaten the progress Fiji has made towards improving human rights. It is also contradictory to Fiji's commitments nationally and internationally as Fiji currently sits as Vice Chair of the UN Human Rights Council,” said Ms. Singh.


The arrest comes after months of tensions between the government and trade unions, leading to multiple arrests of prominent trade unionists and workers in Fiji throughout April to May this year.


“A country that is not tolerant and receptive to trade union presence is not one that reflects democratic values. This action has further created an atmosphere of intimidation and fear,” said Ms. Singh.


The NGOCHR calls on the State to stop this harassment of our trade union leaders and for the Fiji Human Rights and Anti Discrimination Commission to thoroughly investigate this case and others.


END

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