Human Rights, Typhoid Update, Mining in Vanua Levu, Service Charter, Murdoch Press in Trouble, Bond Repayment, Tourism Up

JUDICIARY AND HUMAN RIGHTS. Fiji has informed the UN Human Rights Council that its judiciary is independent from political interference and all citizens have the right to a fair trial. Fiji will not revoke the Human Rights Decree, as urged by the Council's review team (that was concerned about the Public Emergency Regulations, the Media Decree, the judiciary and the return to parliamentary rule) because "it is the only legislation in existence that ensures by law the continued existence of the Fiji Human Rights Commission. Government is committed to implement the Human Rights Decree and to fill vacancies that continue to exist mainly due to travel restrictions currently imposed by a few of Fiji’s neighbors." Fiji accepted 97 of the 103 recommendations set out by the HRC on Feb. 11. Permanent Representative to the European Union, Peceli Vocea has asked for understanding of Fiji’s situation at the 14th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.  Fiji has a 10-year time frame to implement all Core Human Rights Conventions to ensure the safeguarding of the rights of its citizens. 

Ambassador Vocea said “Fiji will hold elections in 2014. There is no negotiation on this time frame but Government is committed to fulfilling its reform in the lead up to 2014.” He asked for better understanding of Fiji's unique situation. UN support can be a vehicle "for marshalling wider support to address more urgent and pressing social human right issues [such as] the right of a child to have access to quality education, proper medical care services and proper infrastructure. Effectively addressing these issues would go along way to creating a lasting, stable and healthy environment," he said.

ON WITH THEIR HEADS. The death penalty for civilians has been removed from the Criminal Code and now Government is considering removing the penalty for military offenders. This was the recommendation of the UN Human Rights Periodic Review Committee. The military has never exercised the death penalty.

.  The outbreak seems still confined to inland Navosa where 190 people have been diagnosed with symptoms and treated with antibiotics and over 4,000 vaccinated. The death toll is unchanged at three. Health authorities and aid agencies are now focusing on improving water supplies with plans to bore holes and install tanks in the more remote villages. Inspections and the public health emergency will continue for another month.

LOOK NORTH POLICY. Government is welcoming new business ventures that will boost economic activity in Vanua Levu. Northern Division. The focus will be on utilizing and maximizing the island's significant natural resources in the interests of resource owners.

Among developments are the Mount Kasi Gold Mine, closed in the late 90’s, in which a Chinese company is now investing in the mining project. The mine is expected to export between 400,000 and a million tonnes of bauxite (used in making aluminium) in the next twenty years. The mineral will initially be exported for processing to China. When another development -- geothermal electricity at Savusavu or Labasa -- comes on line it is hoped to build a local bauxite processing plant. There are also possibilities for gold in Macuata and copper near Udu Point. Fiji is relatively well endowed in a number of minerals but has so far derived little benefit from these resources.

. Fifteen years of public service reform produced no lasting impact on the Public Service.  It is hoped the new Service Charter will change that.
“A Service Charter is a tool that outlines the key services and processes of the Ministry or government Department," says Deputy Secretary Strategic Framework for Change Coordinating Office, Filimone Kau. It is "like a contractual agreement of the ministry’s commitment in order to achieve its deliverables and therefore a much more satisfied public." The aim is to deliver services in an open, accountable, timely and efficient manner, and is an essential part of government's efforts to move forward.“ Fiji’s Public Service needs to display transparency and openness to the people through greater clarification of the roles of ministries.
Read all about it. Murdoch's News Ltd owns the Fiji Times.

GOT US$150 MILLION?  Reserve Bank Governor Sada Reddy is worried about the US$150m bond, issued by the Qarase government in September 2006 and due for payment in September next year,  but has assured an Accountants' Congress in Sigatoka that "Fiji as usual will meet all its foreign obligations whatever it takes.” RadioNZ International also reported this story but omitted Reddy's "Fiji as usual..." which one might have thought was the most important thing he said about the loan. Another "accidentally-on-purpose" omisson?

TOURIST NUMBERS UP. April saw the highest ever visitor arrivals, 44,496 this year compared to 39, 302 last year. Australia was up 19.6%, NZ 11.2% and the US 26.2%, China, Taiwan and India continued to grow, while Japan numbers dropped.


A military junta is NOT a government said…
No amount of spin, rhetoric, wishfull thinking or group think self deceit will convince those that matter internationally that Fiji currently has a 'government' and a 'PM'.
Fiji is under the control of a military junta and an unelected dictator. It is the power of the bullet over the ballot.
And the longer the junta stays in power by misguided military force the more Fiji and its people, particularly the indo Fijian poor, will suffer.
Fiji, economically, is in very serious trouble. There are many reasons for this but the main factor is the military coup of Dec 5 2006. Anyone who says otherwise simply has no honesty or credibility.
It will take Fiji decades to recover from this latest coup (it is unlikely that the sugar industry ever will). The ultimate biggest losers in this coup will be 1. poor Indo Fijians and 2. The Fiji military. The latter has sadly lost any international credibility - that is the legacy of bainimarama and will remain that way until courageous and proper military leadership is restored.
Anonymous said…
The US$150m loan taken out late in 2006 by the Qarase bloated and so-called democratically elected government was always an act of utter folly. Now it is back to haunt the taxpayers of Fiji. Shall we ever learn? Why have we not held these profligate persons to account? In the meantime, the mother of all economic, global downturns has wreaked havoc with Fiji's finances along with everyone else's. Politicians NEVER learn to look ahead of their next electoral prospect. What comparative bliss it is to have done away with the lot of them!
Anonymous said…
The Sugar Industry in Fiji was doomed from the late 80s in the form in which it was created. It was being used as a quasi-Welfare State and the EU had already under pressure from certain countries (fed up with paying over the top for products they already grew and milled at home)sounded the death knell subsidy to uneconomic sugar producers. This was 1989. What was done to accommodate the reasonable concerns of the EU? Nothing much. All those in charge and politicans-on-the -make (greedy for votes) were deaf and uncomprehending. In fact, the orchestra played on and on and on just as it was. And no one asked why?
White Frangipani said…
"A military junta is NOT a government" Please use just one name to identify yourself each time instead of a phrase. Using a phrase as your "name" makes it look as if you are a different person each time. I think the time has come where you need to "get over" the military junta problem that is causing you so much distress. Have you ever tried to look positively at what is happening in Fiji and even though you personally do not like the military side of the Fijian government, accept that there is change for the good? No doubt there are a lot of civilians working with the Fijian government (behind the scenes)who we don't hear about because they do not want to be identified because of the travel bans. I can not understand why you would not want corruption (which seemed to have become a way of life in Fiji) to be stamped out. I have just read the latest of Croz's posting about what former Fiji High Court judge Nazhat Shameem said last weekend about the history of corporate and institutional failure in Fiji - surely you wouldn't disagree with what she said?
Off white frangipani said…
@ white frangipani
Thank you for giving very good reasons why the sanctions by so many international organisations against the junta and its supporters imposed should be strengthened.
We cannot understand why you would not want human rights abuses and murder by the Fiji military junta not stamped out?
As for the shameem sisters - you need to appreciate that outside the criminal cabal running Fiji with guns and their few misguided supporters, there is no credibility or respect for these two - you can put lipstick on a pig - it is still a pig.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Off White Frangipani ... You speak with such authority, even to the extent of using the royal "we." A little modesty would be more decoming. Many people think the sanctions are unwise because they hurt the ordinary people and have little to no effect on the Government. Many people also respect the Shameem sisters, and these same people would find your reference to pigs insulting, and doubly insulting when referring to Muslims. I leave your comment here so that reasonable thinking people can see where so much anti-government opposition is coming from. You do little for your cause by stooping so low.
Anonymous said…
Off-white and Off colour! This is the conduct that has allowed gross endemic corruption to seep into each and every institution in Fiji in the past fifteen years. Some objectivity and rationality must be deployed? Else, your arguments fail for want of logic. Insults are not logic. They are insults and they devolve upon yourself.

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