Last week, the Fijian regime illegally promulgated an illegitimate constitution, which granted them total indemnity for their crimes (including torture and murder). People peacefully protesting against this were summarily arrested, and the regime has basicly told those demanding democracy and justice to shut up. The New Zealand government's response to this? Reward the dictatorship by lifting sanctions:
The Government has further eased the sanctions imposed on Fiji as a result of its 2006 coup, as diplomatic relations between the two countries continue to thaw.We should not be doing this. Fiji is still a dictatorship. There is no freedom of expression. And while elections have been promised, the regime has broken such promises before. The sanctions should remain in place until democracy is actually restored - that is, until genuine free and fair elections are held, and their result is respected by the military. Even then, we should make it clear: coupmongers should never be welcome in New Zealand.
The Government has also reinstated 10 post-graduate scholarships for Fijian students, which were suspended in 2006, and formally revoked the sporting sanctions.
"While it has been our practice to provide exemptions from this ban in virtually every case, we judge that the time is now right to formally revoke the ban."
Individual bans will still apply to regime members and the military.
McCully said the Government had over recent months also eased travel sanctions, leaving them in place for key regime and military members, but easing the process around family members of less senior figures.