Unions welcome tough Commonwealth line on Fiji

Australia's Foreign Minister, Bob Carr has raised concerns about the treatment of trade unionists in Fiji. [ABC]
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Australia's Foreign Minister, Bob Carr has raised concerns about the treatment of trade unionists in Fiji. [ABC]

Campbell Cooney, Pacific correspondent

Last Updated: Tue, 17 Apr 2012 16:37:00 +1000

Australia's trade union movement has welcomed the decision of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) not to lift Fiji's suspension.

While the Commonwealth has congratulated the military-backed regime in power for begining the process of return democratic rule, it remains concerned about human rights issues in the Pacific nation.

In a statement following a CMAG meeting in London, Australia's Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr, supported the group's praise of Fiji's regime for begining the process to draft a new constitution.

But he said he still has concerns about human rights in Fiji, press freedom, and the treatment of union leaders.

The president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Ged Kearney, supports Senator Carr's position.

She said: "That is a violation of human rights in itself, and the trade union movement in Australia will not support any change to the government's position until those rights are actually fixed."

The Commonwealth has also offered to assist Fiji with its constitutional consultations and with the 2014 election.

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