HE Mr Ratu Naivakarurubalawu Solo Mara
High Commissioner for the Republic of Fiji Islands
34 Hyde Park Gate
Dear High Commissioner
Refusal of entry for trade union representatives
On behalf of the TUC General Council, I should like to express our dismay over the refusal today to allow a high-level trade union delegation to enter the country. The delegation included the Presidents of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU). This is the sort of behaviour which has been experienced in the past by delegations seeking entry to international pariah states such as Burma, Colombia and Zimbabwe.
Your Government has missed a valuable opportunity to engage with the representatives of the international trade union movement, one of whom, Helen Kelly, NZCTU President, is a worker member of the ILO Governing Body. The denial of entry for the colleagues concerned is hardly conducive to social dialogue and promotion of industrial harmony and flies in the face of oft-repeated claims of strict adherence to international norms by the military regime which also professes to respect trade union rights.
The TUC has kept a close watch on developments in your country in the past few months and remains deeply concerned over the recent spate of violations of trade union and human rights. This latest incident constitutes an affront to the international trade union movement which has consistently sought to facilitate Fiji's return to democracy and restoration of its citizens' rights. I should be grateful if you would convey our strong condemnation of the incident to your Government.
I am copying this to the leaders of the Australian, Fijian and New Zealand trade union movements, to the International Labour Organisation and to the British Government.
Issued: 14 December, 2011