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June 21, 2014


BUADROMO: Spoke about being abused.

One of the human rights activists, who was attacked by military officers on Christmas Eve in 2006,  has spoken about the abuse on Australian TV.

Virisila Buadromo told ABC’s Q and A programme last night she was physically and emotionally abused by military officers and that some of those officers are today ‘freely travelling through Australia’.

Buadromo didn’t name the officers; neither did she make reference to Fiji’s self-appointed prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, being accused of leading the attack.

Bloggers will remember Buadromo and three others (Jackie Koroi, Pita Wawavonovono and Imraz Aqbal) were taken to Nabua barracks and beaten and tortured, just weeks after Bainimarama’s coup.

They were unable to name the offenders but Former 3FIR commander, Roko Ului Mara, singled Frank Bainimarama out as one of the key perpetrators, after he defected from the regime in 2011. 

Buadromo’s revelations to Q and A followed a question from a member of the audience about Australia’s decision to lift the sanctions, allowing military officers who’ve committed crimes against citizens to travel through the country, and even work there as diplomats.

The director of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement told the programme: “I was physically and emotionally abused by military officers on Christmas Eve in 2006 and those officers are still free and some of them are visiting Australia as diplomats.” 

Q and A host, Tony Jones, asked another panelist, Josh Frydenberg, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, to comment, saying: “If it is true that among Fijian diplomats in this country are people that abused the woman sitting next to me, are you going to do anything about it?”

Frydenberg said he was sure the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, would look into the matter. 

Buadromo was asked if she would name her attacker or wanted anything done. She replied: “I, I do but I prefer not to air it on television”.

Virisila Buadromo also last night said she had tackled Bishop about lifting the sanctions too early but conceded it was a necessary move.

She went on to congratulate the Australian and New Zealand governments for investing in what she said were “two independent institutions in Fiji to ensure we have an independent election  – one is the Electoral Commission and Office of the Supervisor of Elections”.

“These two independent institutions are ensuring we are on the road to democracy.

“They see a role for civil society despite the repressive decrees that have come in place.

“They are trying to work with civil society to ensure that the public are going to make informed decisions…to ensure that if they don’t support this current govt … that they show their protest at the  ballot and vote them out.”

Both the Electoral Commission and the Office of the Supervisor of Elections have been criticised by Opposition parties for decisions involving the September poll, including the failure to uphold complaints against the regime-led party, Fiji First.

Source – c4.5; Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM
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