There's uproar over words used in a speech by Fiji's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador, Nazhat Shameem.
In her speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Shameem told the council that racism was institutionalised in Fiji to such an extent that it instilled a 'privileged caste'.
"Mr President, on the issue of racism, it must be noted that racism was institutionalised in Fiji to such an extent that it instilled in a privileged class, a sense of entitlement based on ethnicity and class, and that racist attitudes were ingrained in all communities, which have resulted in mistrust, resentment and suspicion."
"Racism in Fiji is often disguised by assertions that a community’s own cultural identity is being submerged under the blanket of national unity. These assertions are often made by relying on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People."
"In Fiji, the indigenous people are in the majority. They constitute to over 60% of the population and their rights to land, minerals, fishing and cultural succession are protected under the Fijian Constitution."
"Thus, when we talk about the rights of the indigenous in Fiji’s context, we are not speaking of a marginalised minority. We are talking about a majority community with a proud and active culture and a history of strong representation in Parliament," Shameem said.
Shameem also put in a bid for a seat for Fiji on the UN Human Rights Council. The UN will elect 14 countries in October to serve a three-year term on the 47 member council.
Shameem outlined the regime's voluntary pledge, Fiji’s priorities in the Human Rights Council and the reasons as to why other member countries should vote for Fiji’s membership of the Human Rights Council.
One of the pledges is a commitment “protection of all the rights and freedoms” guaranteed in the Constitution of Fiji, including both civil and political rights, and social and economic rights".
Another pledge is: "Fiji is committed to the rule of law, including the independence of the judiciary, and will work steadfastly in its efforts to continuously improve the independent functioning of its judiciary. Fiji recognises the crucial role of the judiciary in interpreting the Constitutional Bill of Rights in accordance with democratic values and consistently with internal law and jurisprudence."
Has anyone, including the UN, been following all the human rights abuses, biased judiciary and all the reasons since 2006 of why Fiji shouldn't be allowed on the UN Human Rights Council?
If Fiji gets a seat, the UN Human Rights Council, will be joke!