The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum in its mandate to advocate and educate communities on good governance, human rights and multiculturalism continued with day 2 of its human rights advocacy roadshow around the western division of Vitilevu this morning with an interactive activity that was attended by youth participants from Nadi, Lautoka and Ba.
As the objective of this activity was initiated to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the activity entailed sessions where participants worked in teams to discuss avenues in which racial discrimination can be eliminated in their communities.
Participants were reminded that every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection, treatment and benefit of the law. Equality ensures that everyone can fully enjoy all the rights and freedoms recognized in the Bill of Rights.
Section 26 (3) in chapter 2 of the Bill of Rights under Fiji’s Constitution states that a person must not be unfairly discriminated against, directly or indirectly because of his or her s characteristics or circumstances, including race, culture, ethnic or social origin, colour, place of origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, birth, primary language, economic or social or health status, disability, age, religion, conscience, marital status or pregnancy, or options or beliefs.
However, having these opinions and beliefs cannot cause harm to others and their rights and freedoms.
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on the day, March 21, when the police in Sharpville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful protest demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960.
Reactions from today’s interactive sessions:
*Each participant that commented has been given an alias to protect their privacy.
“We should invite each-other to social gatherings and religious gatherings to have a better understanding of other races,” Milika from Nadi.
“Use peer pressure in a positive light by passing on the knowledge that we have learnt today. I only wish more people in my community can be part of these human rights awareness activities. I will go back and share with my family and neighbours”, Pauliasi from Lautoka.
“After today’s interactive session, I have come to the conclusion that we need to have a good understanding of our basic human rights. I am happy that I have a better understanding of my rights, and that I have a responsibility not to infringe on the rights of my neighbours”, Joseph from Lautoka.
“I wish that there will be more human rights awareness programs in our town. I will invite as many people from my community to attend, so that they can hear first-hand, what their rights are,” Intiaz from Ba.
“I was invited to attend this session by my friend, and I am glad that I came to learn our human rights are part of our constitution,” Kalasita from Ba