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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Fiji High Court orders Solomon community to remain on Fiji land

Solomon Island descendants from the sugarcane blackbirding era, living on a piece of land in Tamavua-i-wai outside Suva have been ordered to remain there by the High Court in Fiji.

The defendants, who are direct descendants of the original Solomon Island settlers were directed not to leave the piece of land they have acquired and developed for 70 years, or lose any claims or any rights that they had over it.

The Australasian Conference Association Limited, represented by Howards’ took legal action against the Solomon Island community who was represented by Suva lawyer, Anand Singh late last year.

The Fiji Human Rights Commission (FHRC), which acted as an intervener in the proceedings, said the case has brought out the history of one of the worst forms of slave trade in the Pacific black birding, and the fact that there were no reparations for the trade on the part of the governments involved in this trade in the 19th and 20th century.

"This case has demonstrated how the descendants of these early black birded labourers have remained on the piece of land in question only to be told 70 years later to vacate, is a gross insult to injury to them and the court has vindicated their right to remain on the land," the FHRC said.

The court described the case as "a most difficult one in which to make a decision" as the FHRC has carried out a long and detailed research not only into the current law but into the history of this piece of land, the titles and ownerships of it going back over a century and indeed into the very history of Fiji on and around the piece of land".

Source: Fijilive

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