CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help prevent deadly violence. It keeps decision-makers up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises every month, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. In addition, CrisisWatch monitors over 50 situations (“standby monitoring”) to offer timely information if developments indicate a drift toward violence or instability. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.
Six leading opposition figures detained 10-11 Sept after criticising 2013 constitution at forum which police said lacked permit and breached public order decree. Govt rejected expressions of concern from New Zealand and Australia over freedom of speech as “interference”. National Federation party boycotted opening session of new Fijian parliament late month.
Parliament 9 Feb endorsed suspension of three opposition National Federation Party MPs from legislature over auditing dispute. Opposition Sodelpa MPs walked out of parliament 11 Feb in protest over suspension and over proposed changes to parliament’s standing orders which it said ignored procedures. Govt declared state of emergency after worst recorded cyclone 20 Feb devastated parts of country, forced tens of thousands to flee homes; over 40 confirmed killed by end Feb.
Public prosecutor 24 Aug charged four people with sedition and urging political violence, bringing total number of people charged in separate cases to 70. Govt deployed military 19 Aug to assist police investigations regarding suspected rebel groups. PM Bainimarama late Aug vowed to arrest dissidents planning to overthrow govt.
Fiji hosted visits by Chinese President Xi and Indian PM Modi, following their attendance at G20 talks in Australia. Xi held talks with PM Bainimarama and other Pacific island leaders aimed at strengthening ties; announced additional $11.4m aid for Fiji, signed MoUs including on defence. Further normalisation of regional, international ties following Sept elections: Pacific Islands Forum regional bloc late Oct reinstated Fiji’s membership; New Zealand reinstated High Commissioner to Fiji late Nov.
Australian FM Julie Bishop 31 Oct commenced two day visit to Fiji, same day announced Australian govt lifted all sanctions; U.S. Ambassador to Fiji Frankie Reed announced U.S. also lifted sanctions late-Oct.
Fiji First Party led by military ruler Frank Bainimarama won 17 Sept general election, Bainimarama sworn in as PM 22 Sept; international monitors said results fair.
Regional leaders at Pacific Island Forum (PIF) held 29 July to 1 Aug agreed to lift Fiji’s ban from PIF if Fijian elections scheduled for Sept are free and fair.
Accusing Australia and New Zealand of interfering in Fiji’s internal affairs, military leader Bainimarama expelled both countries’ Commissioners 4 Nov; Australia responded in kind.
Acting PM Ganilau called 1 Sept suspension of Fiji from Commonwealth “disappointing”, again rejected Oct 2010 election deadline set by group. Commonwealth envoy Paul Reeves met regime leaders in Suva, pushed dialogue on electoral, constitutional issues; barred from meeting opposition leaders. EU 24 Sept announced 6-month extension of sanctions. Military leader Bainimarama 26 Sept defended 2006 coup and 2014 election timeline before UNGA, criticised apparent decision to exclude Fijian military from UN peacekeeping operations.
Fiji suspended from Commonwealth 1 Sept after failing to meet demands to restore democracy, including committing to elections by Oct 2010. Military regime 24 Aug appointed army colonels to manage Fiji’s 4 administrative divisions, fuelling concerns over increase in military power.
Military ruler Frank Bainimarama late month named ally and former army commander Ratu Epeli Nailatikau interim President. Commonwealth 31 July gave Fiji until Sept to commit to elections by Oct 2010 or face suspension from body.
Military ruler Bainimarama 9 June extended martial law for another 30 days – originally imposed during April illegal takeover of govt.
Military ruler Frank Bainimarama defied 1 May deadline set by Pacific Island Forum to announce date for elections in 2009, resulting in Fiji’s suspension from regional group. Said no elections until 2014, 22 May reappointed chief justice and named 3 proregime judges. Amnesty International report 28 May criticised continuing free speech violations, widespread intimidation.
Overturning 2008 Supreme Court ruling, Court of Appeal 9 Apr ruled PM Frank Bainimarama’s military govt, appointed after Dec 2006 military coup, illegal, and said interim PM needed to dissolve parliament, call elections; but President Iloilo next day announced govt takeover, dismissed Appeal Court judges, appointed Bainimarama interim PM, to serve for 5 years before next elections.
PM Bainimarama reversed pledge to hold elections by March 2009; said time needed to set up new electoral system. Labour party left military-led govt in protest 17 Aug. Regional leaders threatened 21 Aug to suspend Fiji from Pacific Islands Forum if no progress made towards polls by end 2008.
16 arrested, 4 November, for alleged new plot to assassinate military ruler Frank Bainimarama. Accused include former opposition and 2 New Zealand nationals. Police Commissioner Esala Teleni cited Australian, NZ involvement; Canberra, Wellington dismissed accusations.
Coup leader Frank Bainimarama committed to March 2009 deadline for free elections to replace military government at Pacific Islands Forum in Tonga 18 October; quoted in press reports day later saying deposed PM Laisenia Qarase would be barred from standing.
Military government reinstated martial law 7 September, citing coup threat from deposed PM Qarase. UN human rights commissioner Louise Arbour expressed grave concern. EU said it would not suspend current aid program but future aid deals compromised; later pledged to work with Fiji towards return to democracy and rule of law. Relations with Canberra soured further after PM Bainimarama claimed invasion planned before December coup; Australian FM Downer denied.
Government expelled New Zealand High Commissioner Michael Green; Auckland promised tougher sanctions. Cabinet agreed to early 2009 elections. Deputy commander Esala Teleni appointed police commissioner.
State of emergency lifted 31 May 2007, in keeping with EU aid conditions. Finance minister said elections due June 2010; date that fails to satisfy March 2009 EU roadmap deadline. Continued reports of harassment of members of pre- coup administration.
Ministerial delegation sent to Brussels to unfreeze EU aid delivered promise to lift state of emergency in May and hold parliamentary elections by March 2009, 1 year earlier than initially promised. UN fact-finding mission visited country.
Pacific Islands Forum said December coup “unacceptable”; urged Frank Bainimarama to resign post as interim PM and hold elections within 18 months. Deposed PM Laisenia Qarase faced treason charges for allegedly requesting foreign intervention to ward off coup.
Report by Pacific Islands Forum’s Eminent Persons Group on 5 December coup called military takeover “unlawful” and highlighted concerns over independence of judiciary after suspension of chief justice. Interim PM and coup leader Frank Bainimarama issued roadmap calling for elections in 2010; said wanted to eliminate “politics of race”. U.S., Australia and NZ called for immediate restoration of democratic rule.
Coup leadership secured itself amnesty and installed interim government. Leader Frank Bainimarama returned executive authority to President Ratu Iloilo, appointed himself interim PM and said elections might not be called for 3-5 years. Chief Justice placed on administrative leave pending inquiry into 2000 coup. Interim cabinet includes former PM Chaudhry and handful of military officials. Military rejected widespread accusations of mistreatment of civilians after 1 died in custody.
Military commander Frank Bainimarama deposed PM Laisenia Qarase in bloodless 5 December coup. Move came after months of escalating tension between 2 leaders. Army regime struggled to garner legitimacy after customary body Great Council of Chiefs proved reluctant to appoint new president to swear in regime; Bainimarama then banned Council from further meetings. Commonwealth announced Fiji’s suspension 11 December, and Pacific Island states imposed sanctions.
Coup tensions escalated as rifts between government and army deepened. Chief of armed forces Frank Bainimarama demanded resignation of PM Laisenia Qarase over controversial measures including preferential land rights for ethnic Fijians and amnesty for those implicated in 2000 coup, some of whom are ministers in current government. Government threatened to invite intervention from Pacific Island Forum nations, while Bainimarama said would begin “clean-up campaign” 1 December if demands not met. New Zealand brokered talks between Bainimarama and Qarase in Wellington 29 November in last-ditch effort to prevent military coup. Australia acting PM said would consider intervention. 1 December deadline passed peacefully but Bainimarama set new 4 December deadline as army planned military exercises around capital.
Dispute between PM Qarase and military chief Bainimarama as troops seized ammunition stores in capital amid growing fears of military coup. Bainimarama opposes proposals by Qarase to grant amnesty to some involved in Fiji’s 2000 coup and threatened to force PM’s resignation. Qarase ordered ouster of Bainimarama 31 October but military officers refused to comply.
Friction between government and military returned when army chief Bainimarama accused leaders of taking country back “100 years”, following attempt to give indigenous Fijians coastal ownership rights.
Plans to cut army from 3,000 to 1,700 rejected by home ministry after concern from military leaders. Commonwealth election observers accused military of having attempted to influence result of May election.
Power-sharing agreement reached after Laisenia Qarase, PM and leader of mainly ethnic Fijian SDL party, won narrow victory over Labour party, mainly representing ethnic Indian population. Labour, after internal disagreements, agreed to 9 portfolios offered by Qarase but party leader Chaudhry opted to stay out of government.
Preparations underway for fiercely contested 6-13 May general elections; 1,400 troops to be deployed across country to keep peace. Military warned troops would take action if voting turned violent. Former PM Mahendra Chaudhry, ethnic Indian ousted in racially-inspired 2000 coup, seeking return to power with possibility of backlash from indigenous nationalists.
Military repeated vow to stop controversial Promotion of Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill which would give amnesty to perpetrators of 2000 coup.
Fears faded after army chief Bainimarama backed down from coup threat. Bainimarama opposes controversial bill giving amnesty to perpetrators of 2000 coup.
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