23 Dec 2002

Fiji Labour Party calls for American Samoa to withdraw ban

5:09 pm on 23 December 2002

The Fiji Labour party is calling on the government to protest an American Samoan decision to ban the entry of Fiji nationals because of its large Muslim population.

This follows a fresh security alert from American Samoa's Attorney General, Fiti Sunia, that Pago Pago will no longer issue entry permits to people from Fiji and 22 other countries without his specific approval.

The alert is in addition to an existing ban with similar conditions which prevents anyone from Middle Eastern descent from entering the territory.

John Ali, who's a member of the Fiji Muslim League as well as a Labour party spokesperson, says the government needs to speak out against the decision.

"I only hope, and anticipate that this Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will take this matter up, and ask the American Samoans that their action is over-reaction, and that they should withdraw and apologize, but what actually concerns us most at the moment is the action of the Samoan Government in banning us like all Muslims are terrorists....this is the level they have given us by simply being a Muslim."

It's been reported that American Samoa publicised the list in an attempt to get further aid from the United States to increase its security capabilities.