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Security confiscate Fiji team camera at ILO meeting

June 14, 2013

REGIME: Too used to breaking the law. Illustration Discombobulated Bubu

It seems the Fiji regime has had a taste of its own medicine.

Reports from the International Labour Organisation meeting

Anthony: Filmed by regime at ILO meeting.

in Geneva say the Fiji delegation tried to intimidate trade unionist Felix Anthony by filming him and was told to back off.

Fiji was put on the agenda by the International Trade Union Congress, so once again the plight of workers is out there for the world to note.

Filming is banned at the ILO meetings – it’s feared recordings could be used by governments at a later stage to bring sedition charges against delegates.

In an interview with Pacific Beat, Australia’s Council of Trade Unions President, Ged Kearney, says she was there when Fiji was told off for filming Anthony.

“The chair of the committee stopped proceedings and the security people were sent down to confiscate the camera from the representatives of the Fijian government.

“This of course was completely against protocol and conventions of the committee where people are supposed to be free of intimidation.

“It was quite a disturbing thing to see at the ILO, I have to say.”

Kearney says the Fiji delegation apologised but it is likely a formal complaint will be made.

Felix Anthony was speaking about trade union rights during a session that was discussing possible action against the interim government.

Earlier this year the military government refused permission for a visit to Fiji by a delegation from the ILO.

Both employer and union groups were reportedly angry at the delegation’s treatment by Fiji.

Head of the International Confederation of Trade Unions, Sharan Burrow, says it is absolutely unbelievable the government would refuse to have a mission from the ILO.

“Today they’ve made the farcical suggestion that they might let them in December but of course it would be on changed conditions,” she said.

“They’re telling an international body that they might be able to come and that they would have to submitto the conditions of a military dictator, that’s simply not acceptable.”

Earlier she also told Pacific Beat she had had high hopes the ILO meeting would advance the cause of Fiji.

“Well it certainly has teeth, does it instantly resolve the situation? No. But most governments will negotiate to actually not be on the list, to resolve their problems through negotiation.

“Clearly that’s not the case with the Fiji military government.

“And so the international community will hear the issues, they’ll make their decisions, it goes on the record and sometimes it takes a little while.

“But we’re celebrating rebuilding fundamental rights and freedoms in Burma and the ILO was instrumental to see that the pressure was maintained until you saw democratic rights and freedoms back in that country.

“And of course we’ll continue to do the same in regards to Fiji.”

Source – Coupfourpointfive; Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM
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