NEWS

PM Bainimarama Tells UN, No More Division In Fiji

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday called the life and legacy of South African Leader the late Nelson Mandela an inspiration to Fijians and all people who wish to live in
26 Sep 2018 14:32
PM Bainimarama Tells UN, No More Division In Fiji
From left: Fiji's Ambassador to the United States of America Solo Mara, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg meeting on the margins of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Photo: DEPTFO News

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday called the life and legacy of South African Leader the late Nelson Mandela an inspiration to Fijians and all people who wish to live in a world of peace, tolerance and understanding.

“Through his life and legacy, [Mandela] is an inspiration to all of us who strive to respect and protect the human rights of all people,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama made his remarks at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the United Nations in New York. The  meeting celebrated the 100th anniversary of the South African leader’s birth.

He said: “That legacy should mean a great deal to every person on earth. But it holds special meaning for the nation and people that I lead. Like South Africa, Fiji and the Fijian people suffered for decades under a political culture that fostered ethnic division, promoted hatred and fostered disunity between our communities.”

He said Fiji would never return to those difficult and painful days.

“It is only in recent years that we’ve begun to shed that legacy and unshackle ourselves from that sad history,” he said.

“We’ve done that through a strict and unrelenting adherence to the same principles that Madiba so nobly sacrificed to defend in his life: a commitment to equal opportunity, common and equal citizenry, mutual understanding and inclusive, wide-reaching prosperity. These fundamental principles lie at the heart of our constitution.”

The President of South Africa, My Cyril Ramaphosa and the Prime Minister of Ireland Mr Leo Vadakar spoke at the Mandela summit and several world leaders addressed with summit.

Heads of state and government from around the world attended and spoke at the summit, the goal of which is to promote world peace.

Mr Bainimarama said that Mandela knew that we sometimes had to make sacrifices in order to solve long-standing problems. He cited Mandela’s sacrifices throughout his life for the principles of equality and tolerance, including 27 years of imprisonment, and the sacrifices Fijians have been making for peace and to combat climate change.

“It is a truth we in Fiji recognise as well,” he said.

“That is why thousands of brave Fijians have served on the frontlines of conflict areas around the world as UN Peacekeepers over the past 40 years. We’re deeply proud of that legacy.

“We’re proud to make such a large commitment to global peace for a nation of our size and population. “And we are equally proud to lead the world in confronting some of the great challenges facing humanity.”

He noted that we still face a world afflicted by conflict, racism and intolerance, but we can always find understanding in the shared experiences of our common humanity.

“At home, abroad, in every encounter and exchange, we must engage with an open mind, we must strive for acceptance and understanding, and we must remain committed to peace and democratic ideals and we must treat everyone as equals, men and women, people of all ethnic groups, young and old,” he said.

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