Felix Anthony, President of the ITUC-AP and National Secretary of the Fiji Trade Union Congress (FTUC), was arrested again by a team of Police and taken away from his home last night at 10:30pm local time, in the presence of his family members.
The Police had previously arrested Brother Felix on 1 May 2019 in the midst of a tripartite meeting in Suva, witnessed by government representatives, employers and ILO officials; and he was detained for 48 hours before he was released without any charges.
Brother Felix has been released on bail this morning and charged for the alleged breach of Section 15 of the Public Order Act 1969 in regard to past investigations. His case will be called on 15 August 2019.
Shoya Yoshida, General Secretary of the ITUC-AP, expressed strong concern on the arrest and detention of Felix Anthony, he said "The arrest and detention, even if only briefly, of trade union leaders or members for trade union activities is contrary to the principle of freedom of association."
Freedom of Association is one of the primary safeguards of peace and social justice. Workers have the right to express their views and defend their interest, including through peaceful demonstration, in an atmosphere free of fear, coercion, repression and violence.
Fiji, as an ILO Member State, has committed to respect, promote and realise the fundamental principles and rights at work. Moreover, by ratifying the ILO Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise in 2002, Fiji explicitly accepted an international legal obligation to respect the principles enshrined in the Convention.
The ITUC-AP has called on the Fijian Government to immediately drop all charges against Felix Anthony and refrain from anti-union practices, including arrests, detentions, violence, intimidation and harassment and interference.