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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

09 April 2019

Author

Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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NGOCHR DECRY PRIME MINISTER’S HOMOPHOBIC STATEMENT

NGOCHR DECRY PRIME MINISTER’S HOMOPHOBIC STATEMENT
09/04/19

The Fiji NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR) is extremely disappointed and disturbed by recent comments made by the Prime Minister on marriage equality.

According to recent media reports, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was quoted as saying, “as long as we are in government- Fiji will not allow same-sex marriage” at an event in Tailevu yesterday. The Prime Minister has shared similar homophobic sentiments in the past.

“The 2013 Constitution prohibits discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and gender expression. The LGBTQI community is already marginalised within our society and these comments made by someone in authority, such as the Prime Minister, are extremely dangerous and only exacerbate the existing discrimination against members of the LGBTQI community,” said NGOCHR Chair Nalini Singh.

The Prime Ministers comments also threaten the progress made towards human rights by Fiji and especially as Fiji currently sits as Vice Chair of the UN Human Rights Council, which is a body, which respects, promotes and protects human rights for everyone. Fiji has been commended for having sexual orientation as a status protected from discrimination as far back as the 1997 Constitution and the inclusion of Gender Identity under the 2013 Constitution.

“Same-sex couples and parents are not recognised. Even within the Family Law Act 2005, "de facto relationship" is interpreted as a relationship between a man and a woman who live with each other as spouses on a genuine domestic basis although not legally married to each other. Families existing outside of the norm are marginalised, overlooked and stigmatised,” said Ms Singh.

“It’s important not to reinforce these discriminatory structures and regressive ideologies. Instead, we should be promoting equality, human rights and non-discrimination for all Fijians. As the Prime Minister has continued to reiterate in the past, all Fijians are equal no matter who they are or where they come from.”

“A lot remains to be done to promote a culture of equality, respect, inclusiveness and diversity encompassing all Fijians and we stand in solidarity with LGBTQI people in Fiji and around the world,” said Ms Singh.
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