Hon. Ratu Isoa Statement on Australia’s Decision to train Torturer

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Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca has called on the Australian Government to explain why it has agreed to provide the RFMF’s Land Force Commander, Lt. Col. Sitiveni Qiliho, with military training in Australia when he is guilty of human rights abuse against Australian citizen, Dr Brij Lal. Lt. Col. Qiliho is also widely regarded as one of the RFMF’s most notorious rights abusers.

It was difficult to understand the willingness of the Australian Government to provide Lt Col Qiliho with specialialised military training when it must know that he was the perpetrator of physical and mental abuse suffered by one of their own citizens Dr Brij Lal.

Ratu Isoa said Dr Lal and his wife were still banned from visiting Fiji, the land of their birth. This in itself is a further breach of their human rights and is another example of the anti-democratic nature of the Fiji First Government of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Ratu Isoa said only 11 days ago visiting Greens Senator for Victoria, Janet Rise, remarked that although Fiji had made steps towards democracy, restrictions remain. Ms Rise saw the situation clearly. Why is the Australian Government unable to appreciate the reality of Fiji’s so-called democracy?

Ratu Isoa said he understood Australia’s desire to normalise relations with Fiji was driven by its own national interests, and not necessarily by the interests of the people of Fiji. Australia, however, should take into account and be sensitive to the feelings of those who had suffered torment and abuse at the hands of the Fiji military and officers like Qiliho.

Ratu Isoa said innocent citizens of Fiji who suffered at the hands of people like Lt Col Qiliho deserved an explanation from the Australian government.


Authorized By                             Ratu Isoa Tikoca