Saturday 24 Feb 2018 | 01:44 | SYDNEY
Saturday 24 Feb 2018 | 01:44 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Fiji regime's true colours


This post is part of the The Lowy Institute's Fiji Poll debate thread. To read other posts in this debate, click here.


14 November 2011 15:30

This post is part of the The Lowy Institute's Fiji Poll debate thread. To read other posts in this debate, click here.

Rowan Barnsley responds to Iris Wielders' post arguing for engagement with Fiji:

I normally do not comment on such matters however I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with articles which appear to be attempting to legitimise a military junta. People like you may say that 'arguments for re-engagement do not equal agreement with a military dictatorship'. The reality is that they do. Even more disturbing is that the military dictatorship will leverage from such naivety. They did this with the Lowy survey, disappointingly undertaken by a known sympathiser of the military junta. Even more alarming in my view was how the survey was funded.

Before any engagement can take place in Fiji surely there must be a number of minimum pre-conditions. Firstly, the military must return to the barracks and a proper interim government put in place. Secondly, the engagement and dialogue must be with all parties and stakeholders, not just those benefiting from and supporting the military junta. Thirdly, the rule of law must be restored and all those involved in treasonous acts and human rights abuses since the illegal overthrow of the legitimate government in 2006 must be brought before an independent judiciary.

I note that your article, like others pleading for recognition and dialogue with the military junta, says nothing about the alleged murder of unarmed CRW soldiers (the investigation of which was a key reason for Bainimarama's coup)  and other terrible human rights abuses and repression since Dec 5 2006. The people of Fiji deserve better than to be under a repressive military dictatorship, particularly one that demonstrates such little accountability that people cannot even find out how much the junta leaders and their appointees are paying themselves.

Finally, I would take a lot of convincing that change brought about by force and intimidation is either ethical, justifiable or sustainable. 

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