Friday, June 08, 2007

Fiji: nothing has changed

Last week, Fiji's military regime officially ended its six-month long state of emergency. This was expected to see an end to military involvement in law enforcement and their habit of taking people to the barracks for "questioning" (torture). Unfortunately, as the Fiji Sun reports, nothing has changed:

Villagers yesterday told how armed soldiers came at night and took them to a spot where they were forced to crawl on thorny bushes for hours.

And the men of Naqia Village in Wainibuka, Tailevu, said the soldiers tried to take the wives of men they could not find in the village. “The women were ordered on to a truck and only released when their children came crying after them,” said one of the 11 villagers that was taken by the soldiers, Lekima Koro.


He said when the truck reached the Nayavu Bridge they were told to crawl on their elbows down to the river bank and around thorny bushes.

“As we crawled on our elbows on the thorny bushes, we suffered cuts and scratches on our elbows and stomach. The soldiers told us to take off our clothes and repeat that,” he said.

Mr Koro said the soldiers then forced them to swim in the cold river and go under whenever they were ordered. “On of us did not want to go under the water because of the cold and one of the soldiers threw a stone at him,” he said.

“Once we were put inside the truck, we were warned not to say any word or try to escape or we would face the butt of the gun,” he said.

He said soldiers also used wooden rods to beat them and kicked them while they were crawling around.

And given the military spokesperson's dismissive response, this abuse is considered entirely acceptable. if anyone is looking for a reason to exclude the Fijian military from UN peacekeeping, that's one there: because as an institution they clearly have an unacceptable attitude towards violence against the civilian population.

(Hat tip: Hyde n Ceek)


Being made to crawl for hours on thorny bushes sounds like a clear-cut case of torture rather than spontaneous violence.
Surely the UN has some kind of provision to exclude any participation by armed forces that practice torture?

Posted by Anonymous : 6/08/2007 04:18:00 PM

Why would UN take action if they the ones who sponsored this regime.
They rely on the regime to do their dirty work around the world and hence turn blind eye to their activities in Fiji.

Just watch soon Justice Gates would be given a marching order for issueing order for Qarase to travel freely.

Now Qarase and people of Fiji are cleaning up but what a shame the international reponse is pathetic despite the resignation of FICAC commissioner.

Just wait till the president is beyond the reach of FMF. At the moment he is still hostage.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/11/2007 02:16:00 PM

UN representatives need a hearing checkups if they cannot hear the plight of 250,000 people of Fiji represented by Methodist Church let alone the claims from judiciary of harrassment than they should dissolve the UN.

At least show some respect to their own former president, Cofi Annan.

Time to send "some" Fijian troops home to get the point across to restore human rights.

I would like a survey internationally to see how many people believe in the UN.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/14/2007 12:31:00 PM