14 Mar 2013

Fiji rejects call by NZ MPs for anti-torture stance

12:02 am on 14 March 2013

Fiji foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has rejected a call by the New Zealand Parliament for Fiji to publicly condemn the use of torture.

A nine-minute video posted online last week showed two men tied up, and abused and beaten, by what the Fiji government calls security personnel.

Apparently shot using a mobile phone, the video shows one handcuffed man being savagely beaten with batons and metal bars, and another being set upon by a dog as the animal's handler urges it on.

Ratu Inoke says an investigation has been launched and Fiji will deal with its internal and domestic challenges as and when it deems necessary.

And he says to move a motion in parliament to denounce the incident is absurd, adding that he is sure the New Zealand Parliament has more pressing issues to deal with than political rhetoric.

Parliament unanimously passed a motion condemning the beating and torture of two detainees.

The United Nations has criticised the video and has called for Fiji's military regime to bring the attackers to justice, and hold an impartial investigation.

Labour MP Phil Goff says New Zealand can't remain silent about evidence of human rights abuses in neighbouring countries, and is calling on Fiji's interim government to publicly condemn the use of torture.

But Ratu Inoke says the New Zealand parliament should now also file a motion to condemn the death of a 27-year old Mozambican who allegedly resisted arrest in South Africa.

Fiji's Prisons and Corrections Service says three prison guards have been sacked over the video but has declined to provide further details on the sackings, because a police investigation still under way.

Fiji's military leader Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama - who seized power in a 2006 coup - said last week he would stand by officers implicated in the video, arguing they were just doing their duty.