Fiji Stops International Labour Organization From Investigating Union Complaints Of Repression

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ILO News- The Fijian government stopped the International Labour Organization (ILO) from carrying out a mission to verify complaints of lack of freedom of association made by local trade unions, the ILO said in a statement issued on 19 September 2012.

Fiji may be a tropical paradise, but apparently not a worker's paradise.

Fiji may be a tropical paradise, but apparently not a worker’s paradise.

The government had initially agreed to the ILO mission, but then called it off during the first meeting on Wednesday, 19 September.

The Office of the Prime Minister presented the ILO mission with entirely new terms of reference. The ILO found these new terms unacceptable.

As a result, the ILO mission was asked to leave Fiji immediately.

No Freedom In Fiji?

ILO Director-General Juan Somavia strongly condemned the Government’s unilateral decision “which puts a greater spotlight on the critical situation of freedom of association in Fiji.”

“As always, I call on the government to reconsider its position and continue collaborating with the ILO on these important matters for the international community,” Somavia said.

The ILO Governing Body Committee on Freedom of Association mandated the trip to Fiji. The ILO unanimously adopted resolution on Fiji at it Asia and Pacific regional meeting in December 2011.

Fiji’s government has been unstable for at least a decade, with two coups since 2000.

On 1 September 2009, Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations when its military dictator, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, refused to hold elections as previously promised. Bainimarama has said that he will now hold elections by 2014. However, he has been accused of creating a voting scheme and constitution favoring ethnic Fijian’s over the rest nation’s population.

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