6 Apr 2005

Gay and Lesbian lobby group condemns jailing of Australian in Fiji

7:50 pm on 6 April 2005

Australia's Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby says the jailing of two men in Fiji for what was a consensual act between adults is a violation of basic human rights.

55-year old Australian Thomas Maxwell McCosker told the Nadi magistrate that he had come to Fiji for some fun and did not know that what he did was against the laws of the country.

Police told the court that McCosker took pictures and made movies of the offences which were to be posted on the Internet and part of the proceeds given to the Fiji man.

The co-convenor of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Julie McConnell, says the group also concerned that a lot of Australians who go travelling to places such as Fiji wouldn't be aware of the disparities between laws in various countries.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not mention in its travel advisory for Fiji that homosexuality is a crime in that country, but reminds travellers they are subject to local laws.

Regional gay lobby groups plan to hold a forum in New Zealand later this year to discuss, among other things, reform of anti-homosexual laws in Pacific nations.