ACTU LEADERSHIP CALLS ON AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT'S TO TAKE FIJI

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REFUGEES

SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 5, 2000 – ABC Australia)---ACTU President Sharan Burrow has attacked the Fiji government over its failure to resettle refugees uprooted from their villages during the recent coup.

Ms. Burrow has also called on the Australian and New Zealand governments to be prepared to take the refugees if they cannot be resettled.

Ms. Burrow, who is leading a trade union delegation to Fiji, says more than 340 people are living in appalling conditions in a refugee compound outside Lautoka on the western side of the main island.

She says there are no basic facilities, no blankets or clothes and no fresh food.

Ms. Burrow says many of children and the elderly have been traumatized and she has asked the Australian High Commissioner, Susan Boyd, to intervene.

"Their current situation, without any counseling or proactive medical assistance, is not acceptable," she said.

Ms. Burrow says she also asked the commissioner to pressure the government into resettling the refugees.

"Preferably back on their own lands, but if that's not possible then in Australia or New Zealand," she said.

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