October 31, 2011

Claim union leader arrested in Fiji

Now is probably not the best of times for the illegal and treasonous military regime to start victimizing union officials.

With the Commonwealth Heads of Governments remaining firm in their resolve on Fiji, the EU (despite the Fiji Sun's typical spin on the matter), is dangling carrots to keep Fiji's feet to the fire and Air Pacific's  financial issues will be the least of their worries.
Last updated 19:59 30/10/2011

A Fijian union leader has been seized by the country’s military regime and is being held in custody in an unknown location, trade unionists claim.

Fiji Trade Union Congress president Daniel Urai Manufolau was believed to have been arrested at Nadi International Airport after returning from a Commonwealth meeting in Perth, Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney said.

Urai may have then been taken to Suva for further questioning and his current whereabouts were unknown, Kearney said.

Fiji’s military regime, which seized power in a 2006 coup, recently imposed a tough anti-union decree.

"If these reports of Mr Urai’s arrest are correct, then the repression of human and trade union rights has sunk to a new low when a union leader is arrested simply for telling the world about what is happening in his own country,” Kearney said.

The Fijian government was becoming increasingly arrogant in its persecution of the union and opposition leaders, despite growing international condemnation, she said.

“It appears the intimidation of workers and their representatives in Fiji has entered a dangerous new phase,” Kearney said.

New Zealand Council of Trade Unions secretary Peter Conway called for the immediate release of Urai.

“This is a further breach of human rights in Fiji and yet another example of the intimidation of unions,” he said.

“This is in the context of union opposition to the military dictatorship imposing decrees which drastically remove fundamental worker and trade union rights.”

Conway said that he was concerned about Urai’s welfare given the beatings that some union officials have received while in custody.

“New Zealanders need to consider these issues when planning holidays to Fiji. It is a military dictatorship that routinely breaches human rights”.

Fiji’s heavily censored media has not reported the arrest and the Fiji Ministry of Information did not respond to requests for comment.

- Fairfax NZ 

No comments: