The Green Party wants New Zealand to lean on the United Nations to stop using peacekeepers from Fiji.
At the time of the Frank Bainimarama led Fiji military coup, Fiji had 269 troops serving in UN peacekeeping missions. Fiji now has more personnel on UN peacekeeping duties than before the coup – as at 31 March 2009 Fiji contributed 282 soldiers and police to UN peacekeeping missions.
“The UN is helping fund Fiji’s military rulers by continuing to recruit Fijian military personnel for peacekeeping missions,” said the Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke.
“It is unconscionable that the UN is still signing up Fijian peacekeepers more than two years after Commodore Bainimarama took power.”
The vast bulk of Fijian troops (223) are serving with the United Nations in Iraq.
“It is deeply ironic that Fiji is involved in rebuilding Iraq,” said Mr Locke. “Fiji’s military is more about destroying democracy than restoring it.”
“New Zealand should publicly question why the United States and Britain are not speaking out about this.
“Is it because they are benefitting from temporary contracts from those trained in the Fijian army?”
Many former Fijian soldiers work for United Kingdom and United States private security firms with lucrative contracts in Iraq. Also, more than 2000 Fijians are currently serving with the British Army, according to a Written Question in the House of Lords, asked on 9 February 2009.
Link to the UN website with current statistics on peacekeeping missions
Link to article on the United Nation’s and Fijian peacekeeping