11 Dec 2003

Fiji NGO's opposed to Fiji weapons manufacturing provisions

4:59 pm on 11 December 2003

Fiji's NGOs are putting pressure on the government to remove a clause passed by parliament to allow the manufacture of military arms, given its history.

The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre says its submission on the issue was brushed aside by parliament.

Ema Tagicakibau, the disarmament campaigner for PCRC, says people are concerned about foreign investors targeting Fiji as a gateway to military arms manufacturing in the Pacific.

"The fact that the rest of the region, Solomons, Bougainville and PNG are all suffering from armed conflict because of the leakage of arms to criminal elements for illegal purposes. It should be a matter of grave concern on the peace and security of the Pacific and Fiji in particular."

Ema Tagicakibau says it shows the moral condition of a country that would allow for the manufacture of weapons.

She says the attorney general says the move is a bid to develop the country, but she says any country that wanted to develop would not have such a provision for arms manufacture.