FIJI LEADER CALLS FOR UNITY AMONG ETHNIC GROUPS

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 3) - Fiji Labor Party supports the call by United General Party that all Fiji citizens should be grouped under one banner, `Fijians’ and not grouped as Indo-Fijians, Melanesians, Party Europeans or Others.

United General Party leader Mick Beddoes had first made the call at the "Goodwill Conference" in Suva over the weekend.

Beddoes had asked why it has become a norm that one has to put down in black and white that he or she is a Fijian, Indo-Fijian, Rotuman or Chinese.

FLP spokesperson, John Ali said all Fiji citizens who are living here should be called Fijians as they all are legal citizens of Fiji.

Ali said why Indians, who have been living here for generations, are grouped as Indo-Fijians and other non-indigenous people are called ‘Others’.

"If people living in New Zealand are New Zealanders, people living in America are called Americans while Australian citizens are called Australians so why is that Fiji citizens are not called Fijians?" said Ali.

"I wonder who founded the group name Indo-Fijians and Others."

Fiji Democratic Party leader Filipe Bole said the 1997 Constitution states that all Fiji citizens should be called ‘Fiji Islanders’ and so it should be.

Bole said the law demands that everyone be grouped as Fiji Islanders.

"I do not see a reason as to why the grouping continues – for instance, Indo-Fijians, Others and so on," he said.

"That should not be happening."

Beddoes said even every report tabled in Parliament provides information based on racial grouping.

"I think that the sooner we all commit ourselves to removing the ‘labels’, we appear so willing to carry…like Part Europeans, European Chinese, Melanesians and Indo-Fijians and considered ourselves for what we are…Fiji Citizens, therefore Fijian," Beddoes said.

February 3, 2003

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com/ 

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