28 Sep 2011

Survey backs Fiji indigenous people's special status

6:28 pm on 28 September 2011

New research by a leading Fiji civil society group shows there are still strong views in some parts of the country that Fiji's indigenous population has special status.

The Citizen's Constitutional Forum surveyed 900 people in the provinces of Tailevu, Naitisiri and Ra, home to a quarter of Fiji's population.

The group's CEO, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says the United Nations Development Programme-sponsored survey was designed to look at the effectiveness of a year's worth of workshops in the region.

He says the small meetings aimed to educate locals about good governance, human rights and citizenship.

"The results are mixed but basically validate the need for continued advocacy on those three issues I've mentioned, in order to build an inclusive society which acts responsibly and recognises the rights of all."

But the Reverend Yabaki says the survey shows overall attitudes can be changed and there are plans to extend the workshops to the west.