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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

03 April 2023

Author

Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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NGOCHR PR: Stop Racial Fear Mongering Political Tactics

NGOCHR PR: Stop Racial Fear Mongering Political Tactics 
 
24/10/2022
 
The NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR) demands that the Minister for Youth and Sports, and Fiji First candidate, Parveen Kumar, retract his racial-fearmongering statement made at a speaking event in Ba on 21/10/2022.  
Using fear-based political dialogue to garner more votes and mileage is racist, irresponsible and dangerous. There are numerous issues that threaten ethnic groups such as poverty, unemployment, hunger, malnutrition, poor healthcare services, and the high cost of living is etc. Another ethnic group isn't. This is not the time to be fueling hateful, racist rhetoric between ethnic groups when there are far greater socioeconomic issues to discuss.  
The overplaying of the rhetoric of “people of different ethnic backgrounds were to be locked up separately” is a fear mongering tactic that threatens to worsen ethnic relations. Emphasizing on the notions of being “locked up” or being in an “enclosure” focusing on aspects of confinement and exclusion to rally together ethnic lines exacerbates racial divides.  
These race-baiting strategies are not new in Fiji's political context, and the Coalition strongly reminds each political party to be responsible when delivering campaign speeches. Creating racial tensions in Fiji when there is absolutely no need to do so is reckless and very dangerous.
To threaten the Indo-Fijian community for votes, directly stating that “This will be our mistake, and this will be our betrayal, especially for the Indian community", is appalling. Political party candidates, especially sitting MPs should know better than to rile up voters in specific ethnic groups to further their own political agenda. This must stop. People of Fiji are not political pawns.  
We strongly urge the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (FHRADC) to take a more proactive approach in monitoring hate speech against ethnic groups, and for the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) to stop campaign speeches that breach fundamental electoral guidelines.  
With the festival of lights upon us, let's do better to radiate across positivity and genuine tolerance for one another. Let our words unite and not divide, with unity and equality lighting the way forward.  
 
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