28 Aug 2008

Leaders of three Fiji confederacies question provisions in draft Charter

9:40 am on 28 August 2008

Descendants of chiefs who ceded Fiji to Great Britain in 1874 say they are saddened that the 2006 coup has continued to undermine the rights and protection given to the Fijian people under the Deed of Session document.

The Fijilive website quotes a statement from the traditional leaders and heads of Fiji's three confederacies in which they say there are serious implications on several issues in the draft People's Charter.

The three chiefs, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau and Ro Teimumu Kepa, say the Charter proposal for all citizens to be called 'Fijians' is a gross violation of what the term stands for, including its spiritual, cultural and social significance to the Fijian people.

They also express concern with the Charter proposal to integrate provincial and advisory councils which they say is an attempt to undermine Fijian development and identity.

They say it also runs counter to the provisions of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which recognises the rights of indigenous peoples to self governance and self determination.