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International group worries Fiji has ‘something to hide’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 12, 2011) – Australian and New Zealand trade union leaders are going ahead with their trip to Fiji this week despite a warning from Fiji’s interim regime they will be refused entry.

Representatives from the two countries’ Council of Trade Unions were due to meet workers, employers and union representatives over restrictions on union activity.

Hellen Kelly of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions says the delegation plans to leave tomorrow morning despite what she calls vigorous communication with Fiji’s interim Attorney-General.

"At no point has he actually informed us that we are not able to come in. In fact the reason we’re going is because the Fiji government challenged us to see for ourselves. We’ve taken up that challenge and to date we haven’t heard any official advice that we aren’t welcome."

Ms. Kelly says if the regime has nothing to hide they should let the group in.

A spokesperson for the interim regime says the delegation will be refused entry because it is not coming with an open mind.

[PIR editor’s note: In light of recent discussions, leaders in the trade unions believe Fiji is concealing something the fact-finding mission may uncover. According to President Ged Kearney of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has "definitely changed his mind... He seems very much to have something to hide or something that he doesn’t want us to see."]

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