30 Nov 2009

Commonwealth urges Fiji to restore democracy

12:06 pm on 30 November 2009

Commonwealth leaders have urged Fiji's military regime to restore civil democracy without delay and to ensure the protection of human rights.

Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth in September this year after interim leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama refused to commit to holding elections by October 2010.

The leaders issued the plea at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday as three days of talks drew to a close, AFP reports.

Leaders of the 54-nation group expressed deep concern at the further deterioration of the situation in the Pacific nation with regard to the adherence to fundamental values.

In their final communique they denounced "ongoing restrictions on human rights including freedom of speech and assembly".

They also said a decision to suspend Fiji from the 2010 Commonwealth Games was in line with the body's principles under which "sporting ties are inseparable from the values of the association".

Commodore Bainimarama toppled the elected government in a coup in December 2006.