14 Jul 2005

Fiji opposition leader calls on government to withdraw Bill

5:46 pm on 14 July 2005

Fiji's opposition leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has called on the Qarase government to withdraw its controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

Mr Chaudhry has told Radio Fiji that the Bill is only aimed at serving the political agenda of the ruling SDL and Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua parties.

He says the Bill is meant to get those members of the two parties who have been sentenced for their criminal actions during the coup out of prison and wipe out their criminal records.

As well, Mr Chaudhry says the Bill is meant to stop serious coup cases which are proceeding against members of the government and to stop any further investigations which are under way.

Mr Chaudhry says reconciliation cannot be legislated.

He says reconciliation must be discussed with the victims of the coup but this has not been done.

Mr Chaudhry says the Bill should be withdrawn, the matter should be discussed with the aggrieved parties and the next step should emerge with the agreement of all concerned.

He says it must be the result of a consensus of views and not be an imposition from the government.