Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Fiji: Paradise Lost

Amnesty International has just released Fiji: Paradise Lost, a report on the human rights situation in Fiji following the coup. It makes for unpleasant reading. While the Fijian regime are clearly amateurs at oppression, they have successfully created a climate of fear, with people intimidated by "Gestapo tactics", including threats, arrests, arbitrary detentions, travel bans, and even attacks on homes. According to Amnesty, over a thousand people have been dragged off by the military to their barracks, where they have been beaten, forced to perform military drills, stripped, and sexually abused. At least one person has died as a result of this mistreatment, but despite being tried and convicted, his killers have been released on orders from the regime. The media is subject to censorship and can report only "good news" about the regime and international events. The judiciary has been corrupted and turned into a tool of the regime, and the rule of law no longer exists. Instead, everything is down to the arbitrary whim of those in power.

This isn't happening in some far-off place like China or Zimbabwe - its happening right on our doorstep, in one of the largest countries in the Pacific. And there seems to be very little we can do to stop it.