23 Jun 2005

European Union monitoring Fiji's Reconciliation Bill

10:17 am on 23 June 2005

The European Union is monitoring Fiji as the Qarase government presses ahead with its controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

The spokesperson for the EU's development and humanitarian aid, Amadeu Alterfarge, has told Radio Legend that their Brussels headquarters is liaising with the EU delegation in Suva to closely monitor the implications of the Bill.

Mr Alterfarge says when the EU decided to resume co-operation with Fiji in 2002, a letter from the heads of the EU to the president of Fiji, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, stressed the need for sustainable national reconciliation in the country.

He says the letter also pointed out that the EU will monitor the maintenance of law and order in Fiji, the inclusiveness in political decision making and respect for the human and political rights of all sections of society.

Mr Alterfarge says the EU stressed the need to bring to justice all those responsible for the May 2000 coup as a basis to revive ties with Fiji.

It was revealed earlier that sections of the Reconciliation and Unity Bill are in breach of Fiji's constitution and international law, and donor agencies may retaliate when it is passed.

The Bill will set up a Commission to fast track amnesty for coup convicts like George Speight, erase their criminal records, give immunity to those not yet prosecuted and ask the courts to suspend proceedings against those facing charges.