Fiji: Democracies’ double standards

A few members of Fiji’s blogosphere have begun to lash out at what they see as double standards from the international organizations and countries preaching democracy to the Pacific Island nation that has been ruled by military leaders for the past two years.

Since the beginning of December, two separate governmental delegations have arrived in Fiji to assess the political situation and try to prod Commodore Voreqe “Frank” Bainimarama into holding elections as once promised.

First, the European Union made a push for a return to electoral democracy by repeating that economic sanctions (and the suspension of sugar subsidies) will remain in place until an election is set. Then came the US ambassador’s reminder that American sanctions will also remain in place until further notice.

Most recently, a delegation of foreign ministers representing the Pacific Islands Forum met with Fiji’s leaders expecting a definite timetable for elections. The ministers reminded Fiji’s leaders if no election promises were forthcoming they will meet next month to discuss Fiji’s possible suspension from the body.

Bainimarama, who assumed power in a December 2006 coup, has long stressed his government’s commitment to parliamentary democracy, but maintains that no elections will be held until it changes the country’s race-based electoral system.

Stuck in Fiji M.U.D. wondered how the US ambassador could question Fiji’s commitment to human rights when his country has such a poor track record with basic rights and freedoms.

The new US Ambassador, Steve McGann has been recently vocal about the status of democracy and in a Fiji Daily Post article said that Fiji was becoming increasingly isolated from the international community…

What is at question, is the integrity of McGann to comment about human rights issues, being a representative of a state that is presently, abusing International Law…

One should be reminded of the disastrous US track record of democracy and the rule of law, in the context of extraordinary rendition.

National Public Radio (NPR) web article describes one interesting case, that will be heard in a Federal Appeals court in New York, outlines the depravity and multitude of offenses carried out by the US Government agencies under the auspice of ‘national security’.

…Sadly, it is now accepted worldwide that these egalitarian nations, who frequently preach about democratic principles are often the greatest abusers. Perhap's McGann's comment was selective to ignore US role in rendition and their subsequent isolation and ridicule for grand hypocrisy.

Raw Fiji News would like to hold the United Nations accountable for failing to prevent Fiji’s soldiers from taking part in peace keeping missions in Iraq while military leaders continue to subvert democracy at home. 

What’s up with the United Nations in continuing to accept Fiji soldiers to serve under their UN mission in Iraq? A group of them was received by Fiji’s coupmaker, Frank Bainimarama a few hours ago, while another group is ready to fly off to the war-torn Babylon.

Why is the UN still entertaining the thugged Fijian soldiers who have overpowered democracy and committed genocide in their own land?  Majority of Fiji’s law abiding citizens do not agree with the pathetic stand taken by the United Nations. It only serves to confirm two things. One, that the UN is a hypocritical beast that supports Fiji’s coup and two, that it is taking advantage of Fijian soldiers to do their dirty work in Iraq.

In a different post, Raw Fiji News has words for the European Union for financially supporting Akuila Yabaki’s Citizens Constitutional Forum, known for “flip flop behavior when it comes to their support” of the current regime.

It’ll serve EU well if their spokesperson explain their decision as to why they are promoting pro-2006 coup activists like CCF. Why are they allocating such large sums to a one-man runned pro-Frank office like the CCF instead of reaching out to the real sufferers of the coup, the commoners. Surely, there must be other better ways of allocating those funds to help the law-abiding poor instead of enriching just Akuila Yabaki who has the mandate of only 11 people out of the 800,000, or 0.00001% of the total population of Fiji.

One of the regular posters at Fiji Board Exiles has a different take on this issue. real jack points out that by funding the CCF, which supports electoral reform before elections, perhaps the European Union (and other bodies) understand the Bainimarama administration will hold firm on this issue.

its good that they are funding the CCF – which CCF is moving for electoral reforms before elections.

the EU should now come around and stop masquerading – tell it like it is – electoral reforms before elections.

at least the US is making their position clear – everytime the Ambassador speaks on democracy he always qualifies it with the need for implementing measures to ensure transparency and control – implicit recognition of whats happeneing here.

the State department and the Pentagon don;t usually see things the same away all the time – but it seems that both are on the same page here.

they recognise the need for reforms – and also elections.

which is good.

its about time the EU got of its show horse antics and played ball – and its doing so now, albeit reluctantly but nevertheless doing so.

This post written by Wendy at Babasiga references World Human Rights Day, but it also may be a response to a call by the European Union delegate for the people of Fiji to apply pressure against the military government.

Are we tired, are we pragmatic?

It is 60 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but as time goes by we become despondent, perhaps shrug and just take the injustices. We get tired of being passionate and speaking up, and then of course, we become pragmatic, wanting to feed families, no matter what happens in the top tiers of society. Is that how some of us feel about Fiji and human rights today? Surely we still need to be vigilant, to actively work for justice and what is a fair go to the weakest people in society. Hey, what about today's Human Rights march in Suva, and guess who was leading the march. The military and police guys!


  • Inosi Daurewa

    The EU, US, Australia are just pretending to put pressure on the military government. In fact they do agree with the lame excuses being given by Frank Bainimarama for not having elections.

  • Albert Singh

    I fully support Bainimarama, he is moving in the right direction. the concept of Democracy in Fiji will not work if the constitutional boundaries and voting system changes. There has been too much greed and corruption which Bainimarama must weed out. He is making a stand against racism which was so prevalent in Garase’s term in office and he did not object but supported racism.
    The reason why Aust, NZ, UN and others are not pushing Fiji because they see the validity for the cause. Its the cronies of Garase and others in guise of Human rights who are missing out on pay packets are crying foul. Even the methodist church is now tamed as they have been involved so openly in politics that they forgot about evangelism. They actions can be traced back to 1987 with road blocks and sunday bans. Get real and move on GO Bainimarama and team!!!!

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