The Citizens’s Constitutional Forum (CCF) is calling on all leaders of Fiji to respect the human rights of its citizens as we commemorate International Day of Democracy with this year’s theme being “Participation”.
The theme ‘participation’ is a fitting reminder that true democracy is on that is founded on inclusiveness and meaningful participation. The theme holds true to the work of the CCF in promoting good governance by educating communities to focus on dialogue and inclusion of all stakeholders in any decision making process, whether it be in our communities, local government or the state.
‘Governance’ means the process of decision making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented).
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 21(1) that: “Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through meaningful, active and significant participation in the democratic processes. These democratic processes may not be known by all citizens in Fiji hence to encourage participation, the state needs to first educate and keep people informed on the mechanisms available.
However, the responsibility falls on us to ensure participation does not rest with the State alone. The CCF through its work also encourages the concept of active citizenry. Citizens must take the opportunity to engage in the democratic processes at different levels and in different ways. People have the opportunity to exercise their rights ad responsibilities to engage in democratic processes. This includes at the very minimum, informing yourself about the issues of national interest and being aware of policies that affect citizens.
Public participation is a foundation on which democracy rests. It helps build strong democratic parliaments which contribute further to ensuring that peace, development and respect for human rights.
Meaningful public participation is an important principle of governance. It is based on the confidence that everyone who is affected by a policy decision has the rights to be involved in the decision making process, notably at various levels. For meaningful participation to be effective, there also needs to be space for civil society to actively operate and keep the State accountable.
CCF calls for good governance practices that will enable responsible and responsive governments and organisations. This will help leaders make the rights decision with the most effective outcomes for our communities.
We believe that an important component that must be upheld in any democracy is human rights we must respect others regardless of their ethnicity, religious beliefs, their gender or sexual orientation; and give them a chance to responsibly say and write what they think.