24 Jun 2005

Fiji Labour leader seeks European and Commonwealth support against Unity Bill

10:18 am on 24 June 2005

The Fiji Labour Party has asked the European Union and the Commonwealth Secretariat to monitor Fiji as the government presses ahead with its controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

Fiji TV reports that the Labour Party has written to the two organisations as well the United Nations.

It has attached submissions against the government Bill made by the Fiji military and the Fiji Law Society as well as the views of the US ambassador to Fiji, David Lyon.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says he has asked the European Union to consider sanctions against Fiji under the Cotonou Agreement should the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, not listen to the people and bulldoze the Bill through parliament.

Mr Chaudhry says he hopes the Commonwealth Secretariat puts Fiji back on the agenda of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.

But Fiji's foreign minister, Kaliopate Tavola, has downplayed the Labour Party letter, saying that the Cotonou Agreement is between states and Mr Chaudhry is not the state.