Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fiji: what emergency?

Since the December 5 coup, Fiji has been under a state of emergency, and basic human rights, including the freedoms of speech, assembly, and association, and freedom from servitude and forced labour, have been suspended. Yesterday, the military's puppet president extended the state of emergency for another month, though its difficult to see why. The idea of a "state of emergency" implies that there is in fact some sort of emergency going on. But what's the "emergency" in Fiji? There is no rioting in the streets, there has been no breakdown of law and order, there is no civil war and no-one has invaded or seems remotely likely to. Instead, the emergency is a legal fiction, invented solely for the purposes of allowing the military to suspend human rights and so crush all dissent.