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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

09 December 2019

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Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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NGOCHR PR: Everybody can be a Human Rights Defender 9/12/19

NGOCHR PR: Everybody can be a Human Rights Defender.

10/12/19

This World Human Rights Day, the NGOCHR calls for solidarity and action to protect and promote human rights in Fiji.

Human Rights Day is observed around the world annually on 10 December to mark the anniversary of the day the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948.

NGOCHR strongly believes that despite UDHR being adopted 71 years ago, a lot needs to be done in order to meaningfully translate the international commitment into a reality for Fiji.

“This year alone, we have experienced a multitude of human rights and fundamental freedoms violations. These cases include the termination of employment of the WAF workers and the subsequent arrest and harassment of WAF workers and trade unionists, homophobic statements made by the Prime Minister on same sex marriage, the continuous rejection of march permits applied by the Fiji Trade Union Congress for worker’s rights, the intimidation of civil society over their support for West Papua’s independence struggle, the continued high rates of violence against women and the alleged torture of a 16 year old child,” said the Chair of the NGO Coalition on Human Rights in Fiji, Ms. Nalini Singh.

Ms. Singh further stated that the Coalition is deeply concerned by the ongoing cyber bullying and the threats of violence against individuals who speak out on human rights violations and the lack of action taken by the relevant authorities in curbing the issue. Most recently, Virisila Buadromo who appeared on “QandA Pacific” received backlash and threats of violence for simply highlighting the ongoing human rights violations in Fiji.

“Human Rights violations should not have a place in a truly democratic country. We are beginning to see members of the public come out strongly to defend human rights and we urge others to do the same. It is not only the responsibility of civil society organisations to defend human rights and fundamental freedoms, it is the responsibility of everybody to defend and claim our human rights. We all deserve to live in a peaceful country and this means that each one of us needs to become a human rights defender. We need to denounce and remove violence from our lives. We need to hold ourselves to the highest standards as citizens of Fiji and for this we must come together- not just on 10 December- but everyday.” Said Ms. Singh.

The Chair further stated that the NGO Coalition on Human Rights marked Human Rights Day with an annual march on December 10 since 1997 but this year unfortunately due to the measles outbreak the March was cancelled. The NGOCHR organised a virtual rally which will be live streamed on social media and welcome the public to join the conversation with the hashtag #HRDFiji.

END

For more information contact NGOCHR Chair Nalini Singh This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Members of the NGOCHR include the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre (FWCC), Fiji Women's Rights Movement, Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF), FemLink Pacific and Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA). Pacific Network on Globalization (PANG), Social Empowerment and Education Program (SEEP), Haus of Khameleon (HoK) and Diverse Voices and Action for Equality Fiji (DIVA) are observers.