In light of Bainimarama’s statement in New York on the Durban Declaration, the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum stresses that no one government can be blamed for Fiji’s history of racial discrimination, as all past governments had failed to address this issue which would lead to mutual understanding and equal suffrage for our people says CCF CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki.
“I attended the Durban Racism Summit 31 August – 8 September 2001 in Durban, South Africa. The conference drew inspiration from the struggle of people of South Africa against institutionalized system of apartheid, as well as for equality and justice under human democracy, development, the rule of law and respect for human rights and the pivotal role played by civil society in that struggle.”
“States were urged to combat criminal acts motivated by racism and to take necessary steps so that such motivations are considered an aggravating factor in sentencing, says Reverend Yabaki.
“CCF has always and will continue to advocate for the removal of policies and legislations which are based along racial lines or along ethnic lines, but foresight is needed by the Bainimarama government to ensure that principles of the Universal Declaration of Human rights forms the foundation for electoral campaigning.
The Bainimarama government must ensure that strict guidelines are laid out in the formulation of the new Constitution and similarly in the Electoral reforms if it is to achieve its goal of eliminating all forms of racial discrimination in Fiji.
“Public posturing for the hunger of power on the election trail could see racism rear its ugly head and strict criteria, based on the UDHR principles for aspiring candidates, could be a mechanism to eliminate this concern.”
“The planned electoral reforms by the Bainimarama government to remove communal voting should be acknowledged but these principles and guidelines for good Leadership must be enshrined in the constitution and in the electoral system so that opportunists do not exploit it and use the race card for political mileage and to divide the people come elections in 2014”, says Reverend Yabaki.