TALANOA III: STATEMENT ON NATIONAL UNITY AND STABILITY

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TALANOA III:

STATEMENT ON NATIONAL UNITY AND STABILITY

  19 May 2001 The Warwick Fiji Korolevu, Sigatoka, Fiji Islands

We, a group of citizens of Fiji, representing broad segments of our society, but expressing ourselves as individuals, met on 18-19 May 2001 in a third talanoa to promote national unity and stability through conciliatory dialogue and action.  The talanoa process continues to provide the opportunity to come together in the spirit of multi-ethnic cooperation to constructively address vital challenges to the country's well-being. 

Our talanoa is based on the principles of reconciliation, inclusion, sincerity, honesty, respect for each other as individuals, respect for the rich indigenous and other cultural traditions domiciled in Fiji, and respect for our national assets and institutions including spirituality, human values, aspirations for economic and social justice, and basic constitutional principles.

While meaningful differences among us remain, mutual agreement on a number of key principles and understandings has been reached.  In this respect, Talanoa III has sustained continuity with, consolidated gains from, and productively built upon Talanoa I (held 30 November-1 December 2000) and Talanoa II (held 9-10 March 2001).  In doing so we have strengthened our momentum toward establishing a shared vision for achieving national unity and stability in Fiji's multicultural society. 

Talanoa III upholds the previous Talanoa Statements I and II and further builds upon them.  Specifically, Talanoa III discussions clarified, elaborated upon and found areas of agreement on the principles and understandings necessary for creating a common structure for national unity-building and stability during the critical periods before and after the forthcoming general election.

Recommended Principles and Understandings Necessary for Creating a Common Structure for National Unity-Building and Stability

We see an urgent need for dialogue among the leaders of all political parties before and after the general election.  

 

We suggest political parties, religious organizations, NGOs, Indigenous Fijian institutions, police and military forces, business enterprises and associations publicly reaffirm their commitment to accept the results of the general election and to adhere to the rule of law.

We recommend that before the general election, political parties agree to a review of the constitution, and a post-election mechanism be established by Parliament for the review.  The constitution review needs to be completed and the outcome finalized during the lifetime of that Parliament.

We recommend that before the general election, political parties agree to establish a mechanism, through Parliament, to urgently resolve land-lease arrangements.

We recommend the leaders should work together to ensure the resource owners gain an equitable share of the benefits derived from the use of their resources.  We call for an in-depth, broad-based assessment to enable Indigenous Fijians to realize fully opportunities arising from the utilisation of their resources.

We recommend that within one year of the commencement of Parliament, a commission be established to foster good governance, good inter-ethnic relations, and respect and understanding among all cultures in Fiji.

We recommend the leaders of political parties agree before the election that the Prime Minister consider forming an all-inclusive multi-party government of national unity that reflects the multicultural makeup of Fiji society.

We recommend that leaders make it a priority to reduce the economic gap between the "haves" and "have-nots" in all communities.

We recommend the formation of an independent and neutral Commission for Truth and Reconciliation to advance justice, healing, and forgiveness.

We recommend that during the preparation for the next election, the political parties make special efforts to educate and familiarize the voters about the content of the constitution.

We recommend that the leaders of political parties, in their preparation before the election and their conduct afterwards, act with honesty, flexibility, trustworthiness, tolerance, broadmindedness, and with a commitment to constitutional processes.

We recommend the principles and understandings set forth in Talanoa I and II be included as basic principles and understandings of a common structure for building national unity and stability before and after the forthcoming general election.

We urge the leaders of all political parties to develop a national vision that reflects the basic principles and understandings stated above.   

As with Talanoa I and II, we encourage public discussion and comment on our third talanoa.  On this first anniversary of the events of May 19, 2000, we feel that the "Talanoa Process" of free and open discussion on promoting national unity and stability has contributed to moving our country toward reconciliation and healing.  We therefore strongly urge that this effort continue.

Talanoa III Participants

Mr. Solomone Naivalu Hon. Mrs. Lavinia Padarath Mr. Sukumanu Pene Dr. Ropate Qalo Mr. Esira Rabuno Mr. James Raman Mr. Attar Singh Hon. Leo Smith Mr. Paula Sotutu Hon. Adi Kuini Speed  Hon. Adi Finau Tabakaucoro Mr. Jolame Uludone

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