The world is watching: Fijian regime must cease harassment of unions and respect human rights

11 August, 2011
 
A delegation to Fiji from the International Labour Organisation must be given unimpeded access to workers so it can investigate serious allegation of human and worker rights violations.

The high-level delegation will arrive in Fiji today following the arrests of unionists and the introduction of a new decree that places further restrictions on worker rights.

Australian unions have called on Commodore Frank Bainimarama and his military regime to revoke the draconian Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree, and restore basic human and worker rights.

“The high-level team from the ILO led by Deputy Director-General Guy Ryder must be allowed to meet with and interview Fijian workers and union leaders without harassment or intimidation” ACTU President Ged Kearney said.

“Under the decrees issued by the military regime, industrial action has been outlawed and unions virtually banned in most workplaces.  Basic rights like protection of wages, minimum conditions such as working hours and protection against discrimination have been scrapped.

Union officials have been detained, threatened and assaulted.  The ILO delegation must have unimpeded access to the facts” she said.

The ILO visit comes after two trade union leaders, including the President of the Fiji Trades Union Congress, Daniel Urai, were recently arrested and charged for allegedly holding a meeting without a permit.

“This kind of abuse and disregard for worker’s rights can no longer continue and we will not sit back and watch our brothers and sisters in Fiji suffer.

“Bainimarama must know that the world is watching and scrutinising his every action.”