The Fiji Island Council of Trade Union has thanked the Australian and New Zealand trade unionists who took risks to get into the country to investigate the abuse of human and workers rights.
In a statement general secretary, Attar Singh, says the regime's decision yesterday to refuse ACTU and NZCTU permission to enter Fiji shows it has no desire to discuss or resolve the current issues on trade union and human rights violations.
Singh says the decision is consistent with the regime's refusal to respond to ILO's findings based on complaints from the union movement including FICTU and the global federations from as far back as 2009.
"It must be understood that the violations of trade union and human rights arising from the Constitution abrogation, PER, media censorship, several recent employment related decrees including the Essential National Industries (Employment) decree and attacks on trade unionists, their families and properties, as determined by the ILO last month, need urgent discussion and resolution."
Singhs says the delegation was "only seeking to assist in this by gaining a better and first hand understanding of the issues."
"That is why they sought to meet not only the union movement but a wide cross section of people including the regime leadership, employers, NGOs and the churches.
"Refusing them entry into the country upon arrival at Nadi has deprived us all of such an opportunity and confirms that the allegations made by the union movement and the findings of the ILO correctly represent the reality on the ground."
Singh says FICTU was looking forward to meeting the delegation and is saddened at the turn of events.
"We thank the leadership of both, ACTU and the NZCTU for making the trip in the face of adverse utterances from the regime and the associated risks. They have shown courage and commitment to help us. They will be forever respected for this.
"And we call on them not to be deterred by the events but to continue their efforts to help restore our rights through peaceful means."
The five-member delegation, led by ACTU president Ged Kearney and the NZCTU president Helen Kelly, was turned back from Nadi airport yesterday afternoon.
The illegal attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, today insisted the regime has "always been open to constructive dialogue" and that the delegation "are simply trying to please their Fiji mates such as Daniel Urai, Felix Anthony and a couple of others who are behind the scenes."
“In reality, the workers are not denied their rights in Fiji.
The Essential Employment Decree is not exploitative or derogative.
"In fact, so far all the agreements reached had no Government interference; it had been successfully negotiated between the employer and the employee, without the interference of professional trade unionists."
Khaiyum also said Daniel Urai's claims the regime had no legal basis to deny entry to the delegation was naive." It is the sovereign right of all countries to decide who should enter their country."
FTUC has also retailiated today with national secretary, Felix Anthony, rejecting Khaiyum's claims union leaders are in it for their own survival.
"The current Trade Union leaders did not grab power from the people. They were elected in a very democratic fashion unlike the AG. We challenge the AG to stand for elections and seek the mandate of the people before he has the audacity to speak like an elected representative of the people.
"Union leaders posses more mandate of the people than the AG ever did or probably ever will. It is time he remembered this before attempting to lecture to the people of Fiji."
Sayed-Khaiyum tells ABC News Radio's drive time presenter, Steve Chase, delegation deserved what it gothttp://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/newsradio/audio/20111213-khaiyum.mp3
NZ, Aust unions sent back
FTUC responds to Khaiyum's claims