11 Mar 2008

Fiji campaigner honoured by US Secretary of State

9:10 pm on 11 March 2008

The United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has delivered a rebuke to Fiji's military rulers by giving a courage medal to one of Fiji's human rights campaigners.

A former Fiji journalist Virisila Buadromo claims she was beaten and abused by Fiji soldiers following Commodore Frank Bainimarama's December 2006 coup.

The military denied anything happened and Ms Buadromo has been since subjected to further harassment.

She was one of eight women to receive from Rice an Annual Secretary of State's Award for International Women of Courage in Washington this week.

Secretary Rice said the award pays tribute to women who courageously champion equal rights in their communities, and whose personal sacrifice is an inspiration to all who seek equal rights and peaceful change.

The eight were nominated by US embassies worldwide.

Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky introduced Ms Buadromo as the executive director of the Fiji Women's Rights movement.

Ms Dobriansky said that following Fiji's 2006 coup, Ms Buadromo was hauled into the military barracks on Christmas Eve and endured days of horrific abuse followed by a two-month travel ban.