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Fiji Time: 11:42 PM on Friday 19 September

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UN told of coup cycle, peacekeeping link

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

THE United Nations has been told to consider links between Fiji's role in international peacekeeping and the coup cycle.

The call comes just days after interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama appealed to the UN for a greater role for Fiji's peacekeeping soldiers.

Commodore Bainimarama appealed to the UN to take into account what he described as the "proud track record in UN peacekeeping operations of professionalism, discipline, compassion and ability, training and ethics".

However, Pacific Concerns Resource Centre spokeswoman Ema Tagicakibau said the knowledge gained by the troops helped them carry out coups at home.

"It is time to seriously weigh the economic benefits from peace-keeping against the economic, political, social and legal costs of the four coups," Ms Tagicakibau said.

"The credibility of the UN will be at stake if it turns a blind eye to the fact that these professional peacekeepers are the very ones breaking the peace at home.

"After all, a military force that terrorises and violates the rights of its own people and intervenes in political and democratic governance, has no business cleaning up the affairs of other nations."

Ms Tagicakibau said this could be seen as a downside of UN peace-keeping operations.

"Commodore Bainimarama's reference to Fiji's "proud track record in UN peacekeeping operations - of professionalism, discipline, compassion and ability, training and ethics must first be displayed at home," she said.

"The UN will be held accountable according to the Capstone Doctrine for peacekeeping operations, for the professional conduct of its peacekeepers, so the very real links between peacekeeping and the coup cycle in Fiji may well put the UN in a most embarrassing situation.

"Thirty years since the first peacekeepers left our shores, and four military coups later, with military personnel being the common factor in all coups, there needs to be some soul searching, by the military and our leaders."


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