posted 13 Jan 2012 16:28 by fiji democracy freedom movement victoria
updated 13 Jan 2012 16:29
Read below ABC PM reporter, Simon Lauder's interview with Akuila Yabaki, the CEO of the Citizens Constitutional Forum in Fiji and Vonivate Driu, spokesman for the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement, Australia.
BRENDAN TREMBATH: It's been nearly five days since the military regime of Fiji lifted emergency powers which banned public meetings and censored the media, but critics say new laws are even more repressive. A public order decree gives security forces the power to use weapons to break up meetings.
It also allows people to be held for weeks without access to the courts.
Simon Lauder reports.
SIMON LAUDER: The lifting of public emergency regulations last weekend raised hopes that democracy will return to Fiji.
The CEO of the Citizens Constitutional Forum in Fiji, Akuila Yabaki, says those hopes have been dashed with the introduction of a new decree which severely limits rights and freedoms.
Rev Akuila Yabaki - CCF Fiji
AKUILA YABAKI: The decree does not specify how long such, quote, "temporary control of persons", end quote, is permitted. And begs the question, it could be perceived as an instrument to limit the rights of selected individuals from speaking out openly and freely.
SIMON LAUDER: The Public Order Amendment Decree gives sweeping powers to members of the Fiji military forces and police to deal with anyone deemed likely to be involved in a breach of the peace.
AKUILA YABAKI: They would now be able to arrest civilians and conduct the duties of a police officer and prison officers, if so directed by the commissioner of police, who is himself a highly placed military officer, he's a brigadier.
SIMON LAUDER: And are you concerned that the public order amendment will limit the ability of people to organise themselves in political discussions and meetings?
AKUILA YABAKI: Tomorrow some of us NGO civil societies are meeting with the police officers who are going to be in charge of the procedures of how you get the permits and things. But we do know now, according to what's available in local media, those who have - who have been deemed to be trouble making since the last coup, they've been reminded that they need permits in order to organise their meetings. We do not think we belong to that category, but we will soon learn tomorrow.
SIMON LAUDER: The Fiji Labour Party, which has been elected to govern Fiji twice and thrown out of government in a coup twice, has released a statement declaring the new decree more draconian and repressive than the emergency laws it replaces.
Von Driu is a spokesman for the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement. He says the new decree will prevent any effective opposition.
Vonivate Driu - FDFM Australia
VON DRIU: If in the future Bainimarama has a party that will go for the 2014 election, they will be the ones who will be promoted under the public order decree and not the opposition.
SIMON LAUDER: What do you think will happen to the opposition?
VON DRIU: People who talk in opposition with the current regime, they are being silenced.
SIMON LAUDER: Australia's Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, says he won't consider lifting targeted sanctions on members of the Bainimarama regime until there is real change in Fiji.
BRENDAN TREMBATH: Simon Lauder reporting.
Listen to Audio at: http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2012/s3406236.htm