Fiji to dismantle structures that institutionalise discrimination

Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has told a high level meeting in the UN General Assembly that the Fiji  government is dismantling all initiatives that institutionalise racial discrimination and encourage racism.

He told the Assemby that the Fiji government is removing electoral provisions that were based on race because it has clearly divided the people over the years.

Speaking in New York on Friday, Commodore Bainimarama said Fiji has a history of racial discrimination and until 2009, the Fiji constitution created a parliament which preserved communal seats where a voter could only vote if he or she came from the same racial group as the candidate.

He said ethnicity was also a distinguishing feature to access services, housing, education and political favors.

He said these features of racism resulted in a lack of unity, a culture which was undemocratic and led to the growth of nationalistic violence in the society.

The Prime Minister told the UN delegates that for a hundred years, the different ethnic groups in Fiji were unable to call themselves “Fijian”, because this was a term reserved for the indigenous population.

He said citizens were born in Fiji, carried Fiji passports, they were called “Fijian” in every other part of the world, yet they could not call themselves “Fijian” in Fiji.

Commodore Bainimarama said the government has changed that now and every citizen can call themselves “Fijian” with no fear of reprisal.

He also highlighted the abolishing of race based school names.

“We believe that only by doing so will we be able to achieve harmonious and fair societies that will be able to focus on economic empowerment and equal opportunities for all regardless of race or creed,” he said




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News category: Asia Pacific.

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