17 Jul 2002

Fiji NGO coalition questions government's sincerity in talks with FLP

9:20 am on 17 July 2002

Fiji's NGO Coalition on Human Rights has accused the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, of engaging in talks on land and constitutional matters with the Labour Party only as a window dressing for the ACP summit.

In an open letter to Mr Qarase, the chair of the NGO coalition, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says they believe the government's plan is to find a reason for serious disagreement with the FLP on the two issues so it would have an excuse not to form a multi-party government.

The Reverend Yabaki has told Mr Qarase that if his intention to resolve national issues had been sincere, he would have accepted Labour in a multi-party government in accordance with the provisions of the constitution well before the ACP summit.

He says the prime minister has no intention of doing that and his discussions with Labour will only polarise the country along racial lines.

The Rev Yabaki says this is not an example of democracy based on the rule of law and good governance and is in breach of the Cotonou Agreement between the ACP and the European Union.

Apart from trade and aid, the Cotonou Agreement covers issues of human rights, democracy and good governance based on accountability and the rule of law.

The Reverend Yabaki has cited the government's failure to recall the pre-coup parliament as ordered by the Appeal Court and the 13-million US dollars agriculture scam as further examples of the breach of law.