Travel bans are not the way to go

Postdate: 18/ 07/ 2007

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) believes that the method of travel bans being utilised by the Fiji government and the New Zealand government, to sanction certain citizens is a petty exercise that can infringe on the human rights of Freedom of Movement.

“The travel bans may also be affecting people’s Freedom of Expression, and are hindering the efforts being made by Fiji citizens to move the country out of the current economic slump,” CCF Chief Executive Officer Rev Akuila Yabaki said.

The travel bans are targeting mostly the elites in society, generally those that are senior citizens and are frequent travellers.

“The travel bans by New Zealand maybe contributing to the militarisation of the Fiji civil service, because ordinary people are hesitant to take up appointments in the civil service due to travel restrictions. This could be one of the reasons that more military people are being appointed to senior government positions,” Rev Yabaki said.

“The travel bans being imposed by the Interim Fiji Government can only be described as petty and personal. There appears to be no consistency to the Interim Fiji Government’s travel bans, as they are simply imposed and lifted without provision of adequate explanations,” Rev Yabaki said.

Travel bans can only be imposed on people who have a serious criminal record, or are being investigated for serious criminal activity. Sufficient reasons and evidence must be provided before the imposition of any travel ban. Citizens placed on bans should be informed immediately in writing.

For further information, please contact CCF Executive Director Rev Akuila Yabaki on ph: 3308379, fax: 3308380.

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