Fiji Participates In 33RD Session Of UN Human Rights Council
Fiji reviewed its extensive work in developing protections for human rights and reforming relevant legal frameworks to the UN at the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and head of delegation to the meeting, Ambassador Nazhat Khan, delivered Fiji’s national statements at the interactive dialogues, panel discussion and Report to the High Commissioner of Human Rights.
Ambassador Khan emphasized the actions taken by Fiji in supporting the work of the special mandate holders, including the successful visit to Fiji by the Special Rapporteur for Education in December 2015 and the upcoming visit of the Special Rapporteur against Racism and Xenophobia in December of this year.
She also pushed Fiji’s candidacy for the Human Rights Council for the 2018-2020 term and reviewed the steps Fiji has taken to implement all of Fiji’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) commitments by 2018 in time for the next UPR cycle report.
The Council heard and deliberated on the Panel Discussion of Human Rights and Training and the Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights which focused on State responses to scrutiny of human rights practices conducted within Member States of the UN.
Included in these statements was an intervention by the Fijian delegation on the negative impacts that unilateral coercive measures – specifically economic sanctions – can have on a State’s ability to protect against human rights abuses within its’ borders.
The Fijian delegation supported a recommendation for the establishment of a consolidated, publicly available register that includes all unilateral coercive measures in force. The Special Rapporteur expressed appreciation for this position, adding that this measure would greatly assist the Security Council in determining whether additional sanctions would be appropriate.
The Fijian delegation’s intervention also highlighted the links between a State’s ability to provide clean, sanitary water and the effects of climate change, pointing to the impact that Cyclone Winston had on water and sanitation resources. The Special Rapporteur supported Fiji’s concern for the effects that natural disasters have on Small Island Developing States ability to provide water, a basic human right, to their citizens.
Additionally, the Fijian delegation participated in the interactive dialogue on older persons and discussed the Fijian Government’s initiatives designed to protect and advance the well-being of elderly persons in Fiji. The discussion covered Fiji’s steps to take responsibility for the administration of three senior citizen homes and for the care and protection of their senior residents, a major advancement for Fiji in ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being across all age groups, in line with SDG 13.
In the Panel discussion on Human Rights Education and Training, the Fijian delegation highlighted the revitalization of human rights education and training in Fiji, driven by annual training sessions on human rights law and practice in Fiji’s judiciary training calendar and the re-launch of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission. The delegation also discussed the work undertaken by the Fiji Permanent Mission in Geneva at the UN Institute for Training and Research.
The Fijian delegation also advocated support for goal 17 within the 2030 Development Agenda on the Right to Development and for the draft criteria and operational sub –criteria on the right to development that would advance a legally binding instrument to foster sustainable, inclusive development.
The Fijian delegation was represented by Ambassador Nazhat Khan, Mr. Ajendra Pratap, First Secretary, Fiji Permanent Mission in Geneva, Ms. Florieann Wilson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Romain Simona, Political attaché-Fiji Permanent Mission in Geneva and Ms. Mariana Suarez, Intern-Fiji Permanent Mission in Geneva.
The Human Rights Council will continue its work over the next two weeks and will conclude on 30 September 2016.