FIJI CHIEF PROTESTS LIVE FIRE MILITARY TRAINING

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Use of Nukulau Island not approved by landowners

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 28, 2008) - A Rewa chief says the interim regime has broken nearly every provision in the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People and the latest was when they used Nukulau Island to test fire their mortars.

Ro Filipe Tuisawau said the act was inciteful and heaping insult on insult after the insults on our chiefs especially the Roko Tui Dreketi.

However military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho said this was a normal military exercise that they carried out and nothing to do with UN declarations or the ‘vanua’ [country].

It was a normal exercise, that was our objective and we do not know how it can impinge on UN protocol, he said.

He said he did not feel the matter warranted a comment as it was a non-issue.

Ro Filipe said the mortar tests in the ‘qoliqoli’ [fishing] of the Vanua of Burebasaga was a breach of protocol and also Article 30 of the UN DRIP, i.e. restricts military activity in indigenous territories unless the people consented.

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