Government of the Republic of Fiji
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service
Thursday 22 September 2011, New York: In New York today, Prime Minister Bainimarama addressed the High Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action to combat racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia. In his address, Prime Minister Bainimarama highlighted that combating racism is central to the Fiji Government’s priorities. He spoke of the need to remove not only social and legal structures which institutionalised racial discrimination such as the communal voting system that entrenched a political system based on race, but also of the need to change the attitude of suspicion and resentments between the major communities in the country. This latter, said the Prime Minister, was the hardest battle of all, and is being encouraged by Government through initiatives such as abolishing all communal names for schools, and to call Fiji citizens of all ethnic backgrounds “Fijians”.
“We are working towards the dismantling of all initiatives that institutionalised racial discrimination, and encouraged racism as a result.” the Prime Minister said. “This priority is based on the acknowledgement that it is the State’s responsibility to provide equal opportunity to all its citizens, and to encourage tolerance and understanding for and by all.”
In line with these core policies of the Fiji Government, Prime Minister Bainimarama announced that Fiji will be closely examining the reservations related to the education and electoral system that Fiji currently has under the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination with a view to removing them.
Fiji’s concrete commitment to combat all forms of racism and racial discrimination will thus be acted upon both domestically and with the international community, and the Prime Minister said that he looked forward to working with the international community in this regard.
This commitment was reflected by other leaders at the commemorative meeting, and all UN Members adopted a declaration at the high level meeting that resolved to pursue the “common goal of ensuring the effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, especially for victims of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia and related intolerance in all societies.”
(Caption: PM delivers anti racism statement at the UN)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs P. O. Box 2220 Government Buildings Suva, Fiji