Last edited: April 16, 2005

Lobby Groups Demand Release of Fiji Men, April 10, 2005

There are calls across Australia and New Zealand for pressure to be put on the Fijiian government to release two men, one of whom was an Australian tourist, who received two-year prison sentences this week for having consensual gay sex.

The magistrate described their behaviour as “something so disgusting that it would make any decent person vomit” and told the Australian, 55-year-old Thomas McCoskar, that his actions with his 23-year-old Fijiian partner bordered on paedophilia. “If you wanted to have fun you should have stayed in Australia instead of trying to come to Fiji and exploit our young boys,” he said.

Australian GLBT activist Rodney Croome along with the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has called for government intervention, and says LGBT people across the globe should be arguing for the couple’s freedom. “It’s absolutely vital the Australian government makes representations to the Fiji government immediately expressing its deep concern about what’s occurred and protesting the actions of the Fiji judiciary,” he said. “If Australia wants to see itself as a leading proponent of human rights in the Asia-Pacific region, then it can’t let this outrage go unprotested.”

In New Zealand, OUT! Magazine is lobbying MPs to bring pressure on the Fijiians. “New Zealand back in the eighties was able to step forward, but Fiji a very close neighbour to us has not,” says magazine editor Warren Chapman-Taylor in an open letter to MPs. “I feel that pressure need to be brought upon the Fijian government to reverse the convictions of these two men and make immediate law changes to protect the freedom and rights of the Fijian gay and lesbian community, and of the many gay tourists who travel to Fiji for their holidays or those who jobs require time spent in Fiji.”

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