3 Mar 2003

Fiji PM says Labour leader's report to a UN committee is racist

6:04 am on 3 March 2003

Fiji's Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, has accused the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, of racism over a report sent to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The report, prepared by the National Farmers Unions, headed by Mr Chaudhry, says non indigenous communities in Fiji and Indians in particular, are largely landless and have been denied their constitutional rights to land.

It says thousands of Indian tenant farmers have been displaced and dislocated after the non-renewal of their leases and made homeless and destitute overnight.

Mr Qarase says these allegations are false and malicious and an insult to indigenous landowners who have shown their generosity by sharing their land with tenant farmers, the majority of whom are Indians.

He has accused Mr Chaudhry of having a great gift for twisting and masking the truth.