NZ Makes Exception to Fiji Travel Ban for Medical Emergency; Fiji Women Request Place at Political Forum; Organization UPDATE: Fiji Police Maintains They Do Not Need Help

By Ryan L. Maness
Impunity Watch Senior Desk Officer, Oceania

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — After declaring that it would maintain its travel ban against all members of Fiji’s interim government and their families, the government of New Zealand has granted an exception for the daughters of a Fiji naval officer so that they can visit their seriously ill brother.  Osea Namatalevu, son of Keveli Namatalevu of the Fiji Navy, is a New Zealand based rugby player who is studying in New Zealand and how is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant to treat his Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Originally the government of New Zealand intended to hold firm to its commitment to its travel ban, despite the pleas of interim government to grant an exception.  Osea’s mother, Makarita Namatalevu, was dismayed at the New Zealand government’s position and worried that the delay in granting the visas could have an adverse effect on her son’s health.

The cost of Osea’s treatment is expected to reach upwards of $50,000, but Fiji’s interim government has announced that it will hold a fund raiser to assist the Namatalevu family with the costs.

For more information, please see:
Radio New Zealand International — New Zealand Government makes exception to Fiji travel ban — 11 July 2008

Radio New Zealand International — NZ upholds travel an despite Fiji plea for for help in medical case — 11 July 2008

Fiji Village — Grant Visas Please — 11 July 2008

SUVA, Fiji — The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement have written letters to the Commonwealth Secretariat Special Envoy to Fiji calling for the final terms of reference for women to have a seat at the proposed political forum.  The letter was delivered to Sir Paul Reeves while he was in Fiji last week.

Virisila Buadromo, executive director of FWRM, has said that it is essential for women to play a role in peace negotiations and post conflict reconstruction in this time when Fiji is transitioning back to Parliamentary democracy.  She also said that, to date, she has been disappointed that she has not yet received a response to the letter.  “We were quite disappointed that despite us sending a letter last week while he was here, asking if he could include us in his meetings, while he was hear trying to formulate the terms of reference, we didn’t get any response from it at all. We think we should be part of the designing of that terms of reference as well as being part of that political forum.”

The forum is expected to convene next month.

For more information, please see:
Fiji Times — Include us, women say — 10 July 2008

Radio New Zealand International — Fiji women’s organization wants a voice in forum — 09 July 2008

Fiji Times — Women’s organization writes to Sir Paul — 09 July 2008

SUVA, Fiji —  As the investigation into the death threats made against Australian High Commissioner to Fiji James Batley continue, a spokesman for the Fiji Police has said that assistance from other countries may be necessary.  While this marks a change in course from previous statements that have come from his office, Mua has maintained that they “have enough manpower to continue with our investigation and providing security at the High Commission.”  Specifically Mua said that the police department did not the aid that Australia and New Zealand had offered.  “There are other countries where we can get the help from apart from these two countries, the ministry will look into these areas.”

The assistance that Mua has indicated his office may need is more technical.  He revealed this week that officers could not lift finger prints from two of the death threats that had been received (the other death threat was received via email).

While Mua has not wavered on his refusal to allow foreign officers into the investigation, his tone has changed in that last week with regard to the progress of the investigation.  Earlier the Fiji Police had announced that they had strong leads about who was responsible for the death threats, but now that optimism has dwindled.

For more information, please see:

Fiji Daily Post — ‘No Need’ — 10 July 2008

Radio New Zealand International — Fiji Police say they may need overseas help to solve threats against diplomat — 08 July 2008

Radio New Zealand International — Australia prepared to offer assistance to Fiji police — 07 July 2008

Fiji Times — Overseas help for threat case: Police —  07 July 2008

Author: Impunity Watch Archive