FIJI "AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PLAN TO BRIDGE GAP": GOVERNMENT PLAN

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 15, 2002 – Daily Post)---The Affirmative Action Plan for Indigenous Fijians does not undermine the aspirations and interests of other ethnic groups or promote ethnic domination or discrimination by indigenous Fijians. It merely attempts to bridge the gap between indigenous Fijians and other ethnic groups, says the government's 20-year Development Plan.

Such a plan, said the government, is important to ensure indigenous Fijians a sense of security, which ensures peace and harmony among the different ethnic groups in Fiji.

"In a multi-cultural society like Fiji, the need to recognize the aspirations of all ethnic groups is of paramount importance. This recognition should be based on a spirit of goodwill and trust," said the plan.

Finance Minister Ratu Jone Kubuabola, who presented the report at the 2002 Economic Summit that concluded at Lami, on Friday said development initiatives that attempted to address the disadvantaged position of a certain ethnic group should be seen as creating equity and consolidating national unity rather than racist.

"And by addressing this socio-economic disparity, the plan addresses one of the root causes of political tension in Fiji and, as such, serves as an integral component of national reconciliation and confidence building, which is currently taking place," he said.

"As part of its guiding principles, the plan incorporates good governance, observance of law and order, respect for property rights, accountability and transparency to ensure public resources are utilized to the fullest and the objectives of the development projects are realized," said the plan.

To ensure the future security of the rights of indigenous Fijians, the plan proposed:

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/FijiLive.

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