6 Jun 2005

Fiji-based PCRC urges regional response to Fiji Reconciliation Bill

1:17 pm on 6 June 2005

A regional NGO is calling on the Pacific Islands Forum and regional governments to be more pro-active over Fiji's controversial Reconciliation and Unity bill.

Ema Tagicakibau, the assistant director of the Suva-based Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, or PCRC, says the bill will legitimise the overthrow of a legally-elected government on the basis of political objectives.

She says she's surprised that the Forum's secretary-general, Greg Urwin, is refusing to comment on the bill and that New Zealand is neither for nor against the bill.

Ms Tagicakibau says there was a lot of talk about the Forum being more pro-active when issues arose but despite an outcry in Fiji, it is choosing to be silent.

And, she says the bill is likely to generate further coups which will have an impact on the region.

"Clearly, if it is allowed in Fiji, then other regions would be able to take a cue from Fiji, and that is going to impact widely on security in the region, especially now that the leaders have a vision for the Pacific as a region of peace."

Ms Tagicakibau says the Forum should be attempting to hold talks with government leaders in Fiji.