March 28, 2007

The Cookie Crumbles from hot (external) ovens

Isa makubuqu's, it’s Bu Josi on the Intelly watch tonight. I take time out from tali ibe after I have been nudged by my Intelly makubuqu’s to share some perspectives from wizened eyes.

A quick look around seems to show that our very own human rights body is soon to get a dose of the “out in the cold” medicine. It is funny how the spates of “cure Fiji’s coup symptoms” prescription medicine is rolling out week after week. This was led of course by the firm “compulsory medication” dished out by Pacific Island Forum leaders only a couple of weeks ago regarding EPG recommendations.

Let’s turn to Geneva where many national human rights bodies are meeting as we blog. A very important group of these bodies called the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights - ICC for short - is meeting this very week and high on the agenda is the issue of accreditation.

That’s right makubuqu’s. Any human rights commission is not legitimate simply because a national law like a Constitution says so. There are set international principles like independence and transparency that human rights commission must live and rigorously show. I thank my many makubuqu’s for researching this and educating an old woman like me in the process. In turn I pass this knowledge on to you. The saying that “one is never too old to learn” rings true for your old Bu Josi!

Of course I know many makubuqu’s have been complaining about the lack of principles from our human rights commission. Take heart! Your mumbles are reaching the ears of global guardians but this could not have happened unless some very brave makubuqu’s risked life and limb to make this issue heard. To them we owe our thanks - Vinaka Vakalevu me vakalougatataki kemudou kece na Turaga.

Some excerpts from proceedings of this meeting which are of interest on Issue 6 at page 13.

Also of interest is a Press Release from the UN where the Human Rights Council discusses reports on freedom of religion, freedom of opinion and arbitrary detention. Most interesting are comments from Australia and Norway:

ROBYN MUDIE (Australia) said the oppression of the most active supporters of the free circulation of information and opinion continued to remain a concern throughout the world. Governments should ensure conformity with international human rights norms, and encourage a culture of transparency and openness in public affairs. There was deep concern for the treatment of civil society in Zimbabwe, including the press.

There was also concern for the current situation in Sri Lanka, where the Government continued to extend the state of emergency regulations, which impacted upon the legitimate activities of the press and civil society. In Fiji, pro-democracy dissent had been forced underground following the December military coup. In light of these and many other situations of concern, all countries were called upon to meet their international obligations.

JONAS JOLLE (Norway) said there was an urgent need to de-politicize discriminatory practices related to religion. There was a momentum that was making the issue ever more important on the international agenda. This gave fuel to those who aimed to reinforce illusions of exclusive identity and conflict between groups and civilizations. Norway asked what could be done to counter the negative impact of this focus on religion while maintaining a positive profile in regard to religious matters at large.

Mr. Ligabo had made recommendations on Internet freedom, but there were several countries that were tracking and harassing bloggers. Had there been any progress at all on this? Protection of journalists in hostile or conflict situations remained a concern, the last year being the worst on record for violence against journalists. Could Mr. Ligabo elaborate on a current study of violence against journalists? And what could be done to identify perpetrators of violence against journalists?

Military government silent on letter

Now let’s swing our attention to London (yet another EU territory) where the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association (IBA) are seeking a response from makubuna’s in “power” and still have not received a response concerning human rights violations against lawyer Richard Naidu. A copy of their letter sent last month is here.

The IBA's Human Rights Institute confirmed in an email to Intelligentsiya that it has not received a reply to the letters sent to Bainimarama and President Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

Spokeswoman Joanna Salsbury wrote:

"I can confirm that we have not had a response from the Fijian Government regarding the treatment of Richard Naidu. To date we have received no further reports of the harassment of lawyers which does not mean, of course, that there have been no incidents. We remain concerned about the situation and Fiji and call upon the Government to respect the law of law. In particular we urge the Government to ensure the judiciary remains independent and that lawyers are permitted to carry out their professional duties without interference. Further we urge that steps be taken at the earliest opportunity to restore Fiji to democracy."

Watch this cookie crumble quick smart and verrrry soon ragone. The onus is now on makubuna’s in this junta to prove that the “said” high priority of human rights in their road-map to democracy, as spouted at every possible turn, actively indicates that our human rights commission is independent and transparent. Under the spotlight therefore are two inconsistent elements like the Director and the junta-appointed Chairperson.

Military prepares law on "cyber crimes"

Since we are on the topic of things legal in nature (although I do not profess to know a lot about the field), Intelly sources tell us that draft legislation for our country is being prepared on cyber crimes. It is a given that bloggers are being targeted. However if this junta reads what’s happening in Geneva they should tread verrrry carefully. Not even the statement from the judiciary that asserts that some of them as judicial advocates can “make laws” will wash. E Sega: this is NOT their role. Only elected parliamentarians are honoured with this responsibility and there is a reason why the executive, legislature and judiciary are supposed to be separate.

The next round of “cookie-crumbling coup” medication will of course come from the EU where the junta places once again all sugar (and trade deficit) aspirations on. Even if we do manage to get this money, the torrential rain—-Koteme! Even my voivoi is suffering—-will certainly ensure that the key sugar cane areas spew a mediocre harvest.

Isa ragone let’s reach out to our fellow citizens who are suffering from this rain.

Cookie’s crumbling everywhere ragone but fresh cookies are also baking in the oven. The final pillar of support for any “power” are workers' organisations. I sense that today’s board moves in Telecom is going to be one of many icing flavours for home-baked cookies increasing passive solidarity in resisting the junta.

Hang in there makubuna's and continue to support each other!


Wedge Antilles said...

The import cover crisis that was really threatening the nation in Feb has apparently been stabilized now. That doesn’t offer much comfort because we don’t really know where it had been stabilized at. Figures showing the pre-stabilization situation at the ADB's recent presentation indicated import cover plummeting down towards 2 months. So if things finally stabilized at, say, 6 weeks, how much comfort does that represent really? The dark horse here is that, ironically, the IGs bacon in this is effectively being saved by the US$150 million bond issue done late last year in Singapore. The IG is currently drip-feeding those funds into the economy to cover the ever-increasing shortfalls they are facing. Those funds have also had the serendipitous fringe benefit of alleviating our import cover crisis somewhat. However, that money’ll probably run out somewhere around June, and it is unlikely there’ll be any takers for any new bonds issues we try to conduct overseas in the foreseeable future. That means the full weight of the economic consequences of the coup will again be brought to bear upon our foreign exchange reserves then. Will our tourism numbers have bounced back by then to compensate? Doesn’t look like it at the moment! Mining? I don’t think so, either!
That may not sound like great news, but in a sense, it is! It is good news in so far as this IG only understands leverage, coercion and its own self-interest. Fiji’s lack of fiscal options in dealing with the current downturn means that things are now well-placed for the EU to play “hardball” with its Sugar Restructure Aid, at least insofar as wringing democratic and human rights concessions out of the IG is concerned. So if any of you have contacts at the EU or EC, just keep letting them know how unsatisfactory things still are in Fiji in regard to human rights, the rule of law and press freedom.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Keep The Faith said...

Well put Wedge Antilles!

The to-ing and fro-ing from the ADB front ("modest growth next year"; "no money until we're back on track") is also perplexing while a commercial bank analysis is forthrightly saying that we are in a mess.

But then again because ADB members are Asian Governments, the cookie crumbs could also lead to our convenient "saviours" from that region and the sudden perk in attention (its March and suddenly the "year of the pacific"?) from the US.

Ahhh well. The good thing about things like this is that just as Bu Josi suggests...cookies (crumbling and those in the oven) also leave crumbs ;)

Bubu Josivini said...

Io makubuqu Anon ka dina! I smell it also!

Anonymous said...

Hey more Cooikes! i want more Cooies! Cookies & Wine! Chhera mate!

Anonymous said...

To much of complains........around. Da cakacaka ga na dina ena qai basika ga mai. Ke dina tiko na mataivalu, well good for them ke sega ia na qai kaburaki ga mai dela ni vale. Okay folks let have a good long weekend the Have a Blessed Easter which is just round the corner.

Whodat said...

Anyone noticed the increase in unannounced water cuts and blackouts (in Suva) recently? Guess the pay cut must make it pretty hard to motivate those workers to put in the effort and overtime needed to fix those problems properly (for the water dept at least, anyway). So it looks like the cookie, like our roads, is also starting to crumble from a few internal "brushfires" too!

Anonymous said...

whodat sa dina saraga.all this rain and no water?i give up.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please teach Bubu about a little something called economy of words. Your post would have been much easier to read and still communicated the same message in about a quarter of the space you've currently spewed all over.