Call to Set Free Jailed Homosexuals
Times, April 11, 2005
LOBBY groups in Australia and New
Zealand have called for the release of Australian Thomas Maxwell McCoskar, 55,
and Dhirendra Nandan, 23, who were jailed for two years each for engaging in
Australian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender
activist Rodney Croome along with the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has called
for the Australian Government’s intervention seeking the duo’s release.
“It’s absolutely vital the Australian Government
makes representations to the Fiji Government immediately, expressing its deep
concern about what’s occurred and protesting against the actions of the Fiji
judiciary,” Mr Croome said.
He said it was an outrage anti-gay criminal laws were
still being enforced exactly 11 years after a landmark ruling saw Tasmanian
laws similar to those in Fiji condemned by the United
Nations Human Rights Committee.
“Eleven years after they supported the removal of
Tasmania’s anti-gay laws, Prime Minister John Howard, and Foreign Minister
Alexander Downer must condemn both the jailing of an Australian in Fiji for
consensual sex, and the archaic laws under which that man has been jailed,”
Mr Croome said.
“It must be made crystal clear to the Fiji Government
that what it has done is barbaric and will not be accepted by nations with a
commitment to tolerance and human rights.”
In New Zealand, OUT! Magazine is lobbying New Zealand
Members of Parliament to bring pressure on the Fijian Government.
“New Zealand back in the eighties was able to step
forward, but Fiji, a very close neighbour to us has not,” magazine editor
Warren Chapman-Taylor said in an open letter to the MPs.
“The pressure needs to 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 go there for work commitments.”
Women’s Action for Change Co-ordinator Noelene
Nabulivou said the men should be charged if what they were doing included sex
trafficking or trafficking in pornography.
“Heterosexual or otherwise. Let them be charged with
specific offences if that is the case,” Ms Nabulivou said.
“But respect the human rights of gay men in Fiji and
respect the Fiji Bill of Rights in our Constitution, which protects them.
“We have seen in the past in Fiji what happens when the
rule of law is vague or misinterpreted or skewed through sectional
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