NEWS

New Passport For Fijian Peacekeepers Proposed

The Government wants a passport bill passed without delay for the safety of our peacekeepers in the Middle East. Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told Parliament that the Passports Amendment Bill 2016
31 May 2016 09:37
New Passport For Fijian  Peacekeepers Proposed
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum outside Parliament yesterday. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai

The Government wants a passport bill passed without delay for the safety of our peacekeepers in the Middle East.
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told Parliament that the Passports Amendment Bill 2016 Bill was to be brought through Standing Order 51.
The Passports Act 2002 provides for the issues of administration of the regulation of passports and all travel documents for all Fijian citizens.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the passport amendment Bill is to amend the act to introduce a new category of passports to be called the Fijian official passports. These will only be used by Fijian soldiers and other members of the disciplined force in the Middle East.
He said it was to ensure their safety when travelling in between borders while on Tour of Duty in the Middle East.

“Consultations had been held with the Ministry of Defence, Security and Immigration, RFMF and the Fiji Police Force, Correction services and relevant Government agencies including Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
He said Fijian troops sometimes found it difficult to travel to any Arabic countries when officials saw that their passport had been stamped with an Israeli visa and it could lead to them being detained at the border.
“Peacekeepers regularly travel…crossing borders between Israel and Arab countries to administer supplies and logistics.
“The situation of our troops based in other Arab countries, given the growing hostility, in the Middle East and political hostility between the Arab countries, any movement between these borders poses an issue for our Fijian troops because their passport had been stamped with either an Israeli visa or Arab country visa.

“Documents are seized and delayed at the border for further scrutiny,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
He said Fijian troops were usually handed the emergency passports which was valid for 12 months.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Bill sought a new category of passports only for Fijian troops serving in peacekeeping duties in the Middle East
He said it was an urgency to do this for our troops there as there was growing tension in the Middle East.
Opposition MP Ratu Isoa Tikoca requested Government to seek advice from the United Nations before it finalised any decision on the Bill.
The Bill is expected to be put through for second reading tomorrow.

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