Editorial

Editorial: Prime Minister’s Address, Proud Moment For The Pacific

As a very proud first Fijian Prime Minister to be bestowed this honour, he carried with him the pride of Fijians everywhere.
27 Feb 2019 10:00
Editorial: Prime Minister’s Address, Proud Moment For The Pacific
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Marise Payne

When Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama addressed the High Level Segment of the 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, it was a proud moment not only for Fiji, but the Pacific Region.

Fiji has become the first Pacific island nation to be elected to the Council and when Mr Bainimarama addresses the Council, he flies the flags of all Pacific island nations.

As a very proud first Fijian Prime Minister to be bestowed this honour, he carried with him the pride of Fijians everywhere;

“Pride in this global recognition of our progress in realising their human rights and dignity, rights long denied to many of our people in darker, painful chapters in our history.”

In his address delivered late Monday night (Fiji time), Mr Bainimarama’s acknowledgment of Fiji’s colonial history was a reminder of the diverse makeup of this country.

And, he has rightly said that we are “no stranger to the systemic inequities that can snuff out efforts to engrain a culture of human rights protections before they can ever take form.”

Fiji has inherited many of its laws and the ingrained social injustices which were never questioned in the past are being done so now.

He spoke with conviction. He spoke of what many would not want displayed out to the world, he spoke about the many injustices which has been part of our lives from pre-independence days.

He is correct when he told the Council that Fiji needed a dramatic re-thinking of who we were as a country, and a bold new vision for what Fiji could become.

He talked in some length about the 2013 Constitution. But for his vision of Fiji to become a reality, we Fijians have to do our part.

We have the laws which put everyone on an equal footing but we need to be the ones leading the charge. We need to question the age old practices, where a colonial construct like the Great Council of Chiefs was accepted and never questioned.

Where your birth decided how you proceed in life and not your merit.

We need to do our bit in ensuring that those who are most vulnerable to climate change are given the support they need. We need to play our part.

We need to think outside of political arrangements, and consider how we can more effectively engrain deep, cultural change in the application of human rights.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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