|ITUC ACTION: Protests in Brussels in support of Fiji cause.|
Ongoing pressure from the International Trade Union Confederation on global groups supporting the Fiji regime.
The ITUC has written to the African, Carribbean Pacific Group of States, to record its disappointment about picking Fiji to chair its Ministerial Trade Committee.
In its letter to the ACP secretary general Dr Mohamed Chambas, the head of the ITUC, Sharan Burrow, says the decision to allow Fiji to chair yesterday's meeting of the ACP Ministerial Trade Committee was unacceptable.
"This decision sends absolutely the wrong message and likely serves to lend unwarranted legitimacy to a military regime that is under increasing scrutiny for its reprehensible behaviour."
Fiji sent the instigator of the repressive illegal labour decrees, the illegal attorney general Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, to chair the meeting.
Burrow told Chamas the decrees have been sharply criticized by the supervisory bodies of the International Labour Organization, including the Committee of Experts and the Committee on Freedom of Association.
"The ILO last year also submitted comments to the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum, expressing its alarm on the deterioration of labour rights in Fiji. And, at the 15th Asia and the Pacific and Arab Regional meeting of the International Labour Organization, held in Kyoto on 4-7 December 2011, a tripartite resolution was passed “strongly condemn[ing] the action of the Fiji government” as regards the trade union situation in Fiji."
Burrow says the ILO also sent a contact mission to Fiji to verify the complaints only to be presentrf 'new and unacceptable terms of reference that differed from those agreed prior to the mission.' When the team objected, the mission was told to leave immediately.
"The decision by Fiji’s Prime Minister to expel the ILO mission is disgraceful and shows complete contempt for the international institutions to which it belongs.
"It is also remarkable the government of Fiji is chairing a trade meeting, when its own trade relations with the United States and the European Union are questioned."
Burrow says international efforts against Fiji is gathering momentum with the United States this year accepting a petition to suspend Fiji’s trade preference under the Generalized System of Preferences based.
"Further, the Council of the European Union in September 2012 extended measures taken against Fiji under the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, finding that there had been a “series of regressive developments” including continuing restrictions on human rights.
"The ACP cannot remain a credible institution if it is to allow members that come to power through a military coup and which flout the international system chair its meetings.
"At the very least, the ACP Secretariat should issue an unequivocal statement rejecting Fiji’s crackdown on workers’ rights and deeply regretting the recent expulsion of the ILO contacts mission."