26 Sep 2003

Uncertainty remains over recruitment of Fiji troops to Iraq

3:46 pm on 26 September 2003

The chairman of Fiji's NGO Coalition on Human Rights, the Reverend Aquila Yabaki, says they have received no response from the minister for Home Affairs, Joketani Cokanasiga, to their request for clarification over the legality of deployment of Fiji troops to Iraq.

The Reverend Yabaki has written letters at the beginning of the month and again this week, asking Mr Cokanasiga whether the recruitment of Fijian soldiers by a private company called Global Risks Secutiries has been approved.

He says their concern is that the recruitment is a contravention of Fiji's Military Act which says that soldiers can only be deployed abroad when authorised by the minister.

"This has not been the case. Government has a responsibility which it has not fulfilled we believe. Government has not given its written backing there is some suggestion that it is being supported but the source for that came from the people themselves."

The Reverend Aquila Yabaki