In an historic meeting in Yaqoona, Sydney the formation of the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement was established. The steering committee elected were President Peter Waqatairewa, Treasurer Biu Tabuatama, Secretary Litia Radrekusa and other volunteers. This is an interim committee to get the ball rolling until the AGM. The meeting saw a capacity crowd with standing room only, attended by the Australian media. Speakers included former army Chief of Staff and Land Force Commander Colonel Jone Baleidrokadroka. The topic was “The real reasons behind the 2006 Military Coup”. Another speaker was Litia Radrekusa former Crime Prevention and Community Safety Adviser for the Australia/Fiji Community Justice Program, who spoke on “The Negative Effects of Military Coups from the Fijian Youth Perspective”. A third speaker was Joseph Raga who was a private advisor and political analyst who introduced the draft Sydney declaration document – for the restoration of democracy in Fiji. The final speaker was Peter Waqatairewa who was the former deputy director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission and spoke on “the illegality of what has been done and a call to action”.
Sydney Declaration For The Restoration Of Democracy in Fiji
The Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement
established at Yaqoona, NSW on 18th April 2009
PREAMBLE We the people of Fiji that now reside in Australia who have a special interest and links with the Fiji Islands at the first meeting to discuss ‘our role’ in the campaign for the restoration of democracy in Fiji, convened at the Yaqoona Senior Citizen’s Centre, Sydney on the 18th of April 2009 hereby:
Strongly Condemn The Military overthrow of the democratically elected government of the Fiji islands that took place on December 5th and the 10th April 2009 abrogation of the 1997 Constitution of the Fiji Islands:
Reaffirm Our support for a Free and Democratic Fiji whereby the respect for the basic Human Rights as declared under the UN Declaration of Human Rights is paramount and further reaffirm that the Interim Government ruling over Fiji today is unconstitutional and therefore illegal:
Our belief that our fellow Fiji people living in Fiji must also enjoy the liberty of the individual under the law, in equal rights for all citizens regardless of gender, race, colour, creed or political belief and in the individual’s inalienable right to participate by means of free and democratic political process in framing the society in which they live in – as we do here in Australia and other thriving democracies around the world.
Our recognition that the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of Fiji Islands is the supreme law of Fiji and that any ammenment should only be made under the rules outlined in Sections 190, 191 and 192 of the Constitution and:
That the current rule of Fiji from 5th of December 2006 and from April 10th 2009 is and always was an illegal Military Dictatorship:
Urge The Interim Government of Fiji to uphold democratic processes which reflect national and local circumstances, including the peaceful conduct of general elections under the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of Fiji Islands, the peaceful transfer of power, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, and a just and honest government and:
The Interim Government of Fiji to honour the Fiji Court of Appeals judgement on the case of Qarase and others versus Bainimarama and others handed down on Thursday 9th April 2009, whereby the court ruled that the President of the Republic of Fiji islands appoint a neutral caretaker Prime Minister who will then advise the President to formerly dissolve Parliament and issue a Writ of Election.
Acknowledge The critical importance of returning Fiji to the leadership of a democratically elected government based on the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of the Fiji islands as it will immediately restore much needed foreign aid and investor confidence that will prevent the downward spiral of the economy and its negative impact on the People of Fiji.
And support the critical steps taken by the SDL Party challenging the legality of the people’s Charter in the Courts and seeking a judicial review of the Fiji Police Commissioner’s refusal to investigate treason allegations made against key players of the Military Coup that took place on the 5th of December 2006.
Call to Action
We the people of Fiji now living in Australia call upon our fellow Fiji people that today live in democracies over the world and all other people that support a democratic and free Fiji to join our call for action
To be proactive and energetic advocating for the restoration of democratic leadership in Fiji under the terms laid down in the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of Fiji Islands. We will ensure that the restoration of democracy in Fiji is put at the forefront of discussion, debates and other engagements we undertake at all levels from the grassroots, in the countries that we live in, and in the highest political level:
To acknowledge the critical role that the government of the democratic nations that we live in, have in our right for a free and democratic Fiji.
To acknowledge the central role of the media in the campaign to pressure the Interim Government of Fiji to call for democratic elections under the 1997 Constitution of the republic of Fiji Islands:
To encourage partnership with faith based organisations, established institutional trade unions (who carry out effective industrial action on finance, shipping and travel infrastructure etc), community leaders and civil society groups including NGO’s specifically working for the restoration or instalment of democratic governments around the world:
To support the leading role and measures pursued by the Pacific islands Forum under the Biketwa Declaration made by the leaders of its member nations on the 28th October 2000.
We, the people of Fiji now residing in Australia and all our friends who hold the view that Fiji should be governed by a democratically elected government of the people, for the people, by the people under the terms of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of the Fiji islands, hereby unanimously adopt the Sydney Declaration of the campaign to restore democracy in Fiji this 18th day of April, 2009.