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Union Opposes Fiji’s Bid For Sugar Organization Leadership
Food union criticizes ‘erosion’ of union and human rights in Fiji

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Nov. 28, 2012) – The International Union of Food and Agriculture says it will oppose Fiji's bid to chair the governing body of the world's sugar industry.

The International Sugar Organisation, which represents most of the world's sugar producing countries, is holding a key meeting in London this week, to elect a new chairman.

Among those vying for the position is Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

But the IUF's coordinator for Agriculture and Plantation, Sue Longley, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat Commodore Bainimarama's appointment would legitimize a military dictatorship.

"We're concerned that his is having a dictatorship, a military dictatorship in Fiji, and during his regime, we've seen substantial erosion of trade unions and human rights in Fiji," she said.

"These have been well documented and recognized by the EU, by the organizations of Pacific States, by the International Labor Organization."

The International Sugar Organization is an intergovernmental organization which seeks to promote the trade in and consumption of sugar.

Fiji produces two million tons of cane a year, most of it still cut by hand.

Ms. Longley says the governments involved have criticized Fiji in other forums, and what it is calling for is a consistent approach.

"The ISO itself has a commitment...that its member must respect fair labor standards... We feel very strongly that Fiji is in breach of this agreement and certainly should not be received the chairmanship...it gives the regime a legitimacy we don't think it deserves."

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra
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