The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) started a 3 day human rights advocacy and awareness road show to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
The CCF team began the day with their first workshop in the Province of Serua, where participants from Sauniveitou and Sadro village in the Tikina of Deuba took part in an interactive session in which they were reminded that by law, we are all free from any form of discrimination.
Fiji ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination in 1973, and this has been reflected in chapter 2 under the Bill of Rights of the 2013 Constitution of the Republic of Fiji.
CCF Chief Executive Officer, Louchrisha Hussain, believes that there needs to be more awareness done to address racial discrimination.
“As an organisation, we will continue in our journey to educate citizens on their rights and responsibilities, especially when these basic rights need to be realized, respected and protected,” said Hussain.
“A worrying trend for discrimination and hate speech is increasingly growing online and it is scary to read the level of degrading comments that are communicated through online social mediums. In this digital age of communication, we must be reminded that while we have the right to freedom of expression, all rights come with responsibilities. One needs to be mindful when expressing themselves to ensure no one is hurt or harmed by their expression or opinion which could be discriminatory or a form of hate speech,” added the CCF CEO.
CCF ended day 1 of its human rights road show with the same interactive workshop in Sigatoka with participants who travelled from surrounding areas of the town.
The theme for ICERD this year is “Youth standing up against racism.” It is an event that is commemorate every year on 21 March. This year’s theme and ICERD day serves to support initiatives regarding #FightRacism in advocating for a global culture of tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination.
Human Rights Roads Show Reactions
*Some participants have been given an alias to respect their privacy.
“I feel this road show is beneficial for the people that I serve as it’s a refresher for the human rights workshops that they have attended or I have imparted to them after taking part in a CCF workshop. We have been enlightened by the knowledge of human rights during these awareness sessions” – Alipate from Deuba.
“I believe that I have experienced racial discrimination at a former work place where I felt that I had the same experience and capabilities as a former colleague, but he got a higher pay because he was of the same race as the owner of the company” – Mereseini from Deuba.
“We live in harmony with our brothers and sisters of Indian decent. Because we grew up together, we have learnt over the years to speak each other’s language. I truly believe this understanding of each other has kept a close bond in our community” – Jekope from Sigatoka.
“There needs to be more awareness of racial harmony at the grass-root level and that’s where workshops like this changes mindsets with the hope of behavior towards other races” – Akosita from Sigatoka.