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Fiji now safe for gays, reports MP

Sun 9 Jul 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

The Fijian High Commissioner says gay men will not be arrested for consensual sex in Fiji, allaying the fears of Labour's Rainbow Caucus, which arose after the Out Takes Reel Queer Film Festival offered a prize of a trip for two to Fiji. The offer of the prize had come under fire by LGBT advocates, as a letter from the Fijian High Commission, published in Express newspaper, had stated that gay sex was illegal and men could be arrested. This was in spite of the ruling of Fiji's High Court that found that the anti-gay laws were unconstitutional. Labour MP Maryan Street asked the Fijian High Commission for clarification on the issue, and has just received a reply. “The Fiji High Commissioner has said that the letter published in Express was written before they had seen the High Court's decision. He has assured me that it is now the Fijian Government's position that it is not a criminal offence to engage in private consensual activity in Fiji,” said Street. The Rainbow Labour Caucus, made up of gay, lesbian and transgender MPs, notes that Fiji is an important holiday destination for New Zealanders, and they were concerned about the possibility of gay tourists being arrested “for relationships which are perfectly legal in their own and most other countries.” However, Fiji maintains a ban on entry for HIV positive people, which led the New Zealand AIDS Foundation and HIV positive advocates, Body Positive Auckland, to question the appropriateness of the prize. A petition asking Fiji to reconsider the ban is currently being circulated by Rainbow Labour.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Sunday, 9th July 2006 - 12:00pm

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