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   Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Media Release

Elimination of Racial Discrimination-CruciAl for National Identity and Social Cohesion

Elimination_of_Racial_Discrimination-CruciAl_for_National_Identity_and_Social_Cohesion18th August 2012: “All citizens of the Republic of Fiji can now confidently call themselves Fijian, an integral component of developing a common national identity and building social cohesion in Fiji,” this was the gist of Fiji’s Ambassador to the European Union H.E Mr. Peceli Vocea’s key address in defence of Fiji’s 18th – 20thPeriodic Reports at the 81stSession of Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on 15 August 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ambassador Vocea in his concluding remarks reiterated Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s statement at the High Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action in September 2011, when he stated that the Fijian Government has “an unwavering commitment towards the achievement of the objectives of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Durban Declaration”.

The Committee was pleased to hear of the remarkable progress undertaken in implementing the International Convention on all forms of Racial Discrimination since it reviewed Fiji’s last report in February, 2008.

A significant achievement as expressed by the Committee was the full withdrawal of the reservations and declarations to specific articles of the Convention which Fiji made when it first ratified the Convention in 1973.

The Committee was also briefed on the current constitutional process and the timelines set out by Government as well as the improving relations between ANZ and Fiji.

The Fiji delegation also consisted of representatives from the Office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation.  Fiji appeared before the Committee on the 15 -17 August.

The 18-member Committee will now deliberate on its Concluding Observations and Recommendations which will be communicated to the Fijian Government for consideration.

The full proceedings of Fiji’s submission can be accessed on the UN Treaty body webcast.

(Photo caption: Ambassador delivering his statement)