NEWS

Raj: We Have Come A Long Way

Fiji has a robust Bill of Rights in our Constitution that guarantees the right to equality and freedom from discrimination, that everyone is equal before the law and has the
25 Mar 2018 12:03
Raj: We Have Come A Long Way
Director Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj, left, with Citizens' Constitutional Forum executive director Bulutani Mataitawakilai during the celebration of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Unity Unplugged Concert in partnership with Citizen’s Constitutional Forum. Photo: Ashna Kumar

Fiji has a robust Bill of Rights in our Constitution that guarantees the right to equality and freedom from discrimination, that everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection, treatment and benefit of the law. This was highlighted by the Director Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj.

He made the comment during celebrations for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Unity Unplugged Concert in partnership with Citizens’ Constitutional Forum. The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed globally on March 21.

It commemorates an incident in which 69 people were shot dead by police officers while protesting against the unjust laws of apartheid at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, on March 21, 1960. The incident became known worldwide as the Sharpeville massacre.

He said as we have witnessed in Fiji and everywhere else discrimination was practised and thrived on the idea of “separate but equal’’.

“It exploits our primal fears about those ‘who do not belong’ taking away our jobs, our land, our right to economic participation and development, that if left unchecked, ‘their kind’ will take over the institutions of power, there will be lawlessness because ‘these people’ are innately violent by virtue of who they are and soon ‘their gods’ and places of worship will replace our faith,’’ Mr Raj said.

“I must stress that we, as Fijians, have come a long way.

“The law expressly provides that one cannot be unfairly discriminated against because of race, culture, ethnic or social origin and colour amongst other prohibited grounds of discrimination, it guarantees freedom of religion, conscience and belief, including the right to be free from hate speech.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback:  ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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