21 May 2019

iTaukei petition handed to UN chief on Fiji visit

6:08 am on 21 May 2019

A petition calling for indigenous Fijians' rights to be recognised and respected was handed to the UN Secretary General during his visit to Fiji last week.

Fiji's SODELPA leader, Sitiveni Rabuka.

Fiji's SODELPA leader, Sitiveni Rabuka. Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

Fiji's opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka said he was proud to present the petition which called for the fundamental indigenous rights of Fiji's half a million iTaukei to be honoured by Fiji's government and UN member states.

The then military led government's abolition of the Great Council of Chiefs in 2012 is one of the primary concerns of groups representing iTaukei.

Mr Rabuka said he was honoured to be directed by two paramount chiefs to present the petition to Antonio Guterres, who had been visiting several Pacific countries.

"The indigenous Fijians, or the iTaukei of Fiji appeal for their rights, as recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and ILO Convention No. 169 on the Rights of Indigenous and Native Peoples," he said.

He said the rights had been "systematically breached, eroded, marginalized and decreed into insignificance by the Fiji First Political Ideology starting with the post 2006 Coup Interim Government, and further eroded or perpetuated by their Party elected in 2014 and returned in 2018."

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