6 Feb 2009

Fiji women's peace group backs Samoa's call for military to disarm

11:52 am on 6 February 2009

A women's peace group in Fiji is backing a call from the Samoan prime minister for the military to disband.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malilelegaoi, says Fiji must get rid of its armed military forces for there to be peace in the country.

Femlink Pacific's co-ordinator says the Samoan leader's comment indicates that Pacific Forum leaders will not let the issues of peace and democracy in Fiji lie.

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls says women's security is most at risk under military government and, as in other countries such as Bougainville, women's participation is integral to any disarmament process.

"The heavy-handedness of the militaristic regime is showing that there is violence in the community, the presence of guns, the presence of a militarised society brings about a situation where there is a perpetuation of violence within the home, the frustrations that create greater domestic violence, you can make those kind of connections."

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls says if the military is disbanded it will be essential to properly re-integrate all personnel into civilian life.