The Guardian October 11, 2000


Unions considering new bans on Fiji

The ACTU is considering reimposing communications and freight bans on 
Fiji if the country's Interim Administration proceeds with plans to 
restrict union and civil rights.

"The job of Fiji's Interim Administration is to restore democracy in Fiji, 
not to impose a dictatorship. You don't restore democracy by restricting 
human and civil rights", said ACTU President Sharan Burrow.

Ms Burrow described the Fiji Interim Administration's Internal Security 
proposals as outrageous and said the country could expect a strong response 
from international Governments and unions.

Ms Burrow recently led a delegation of representatives from Australian and 
New Zealand unions to Fiji to inspect conditions in the refugee camps and 
discuss the situation in Fiji with local community and union leaders.

Refugees driven out of their villages by supporters of George Speight are 
living in disgraceful conditions in refugees camps outside Lautoka with 
little food, shelter, clothing or sanitation or medical facilities.

A report of the visit due to be tabled at the ACTU executive later this 
month will recommend that:

* the ACTU lobby the Australian Government to establish resettlement 
programmes for Fijian refugees;

* Australian unions remain on standby to reimpose bans against Fiji should 
the Interim Administration move to oppress civil and union rights in Fiji;

* Unions to give financial support to aid refugees and displaced persons;

Australian unions imposed bans on mail, and air and sea freight to Fiji 
during the hostage crisis between May 28 and June 29 this year.

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