Opposition Calls For Resignation Of Fiji's Ambassador To UN Over Racism Comments

Shameem called 'protections of the rights of indigenous Fijians ...institutionalised racism'

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 9, 2017) – Fiji's opposition SODELPA party has called for the resignation of the Fijian ambassador to the United Nations, Nazhat Shameem, after she described the past protections of the rights of indigenous Fijians as institutionalised racism.

Ambassador Shameem's comments were part of an address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on the 1st of March.

In her comments she said, "Racism was institutionalised in Fiji to such an extent that it instilled a 'privileged caste'."

"Rights of the majority in a democracy whether indigenous or not must not be used to suppress the rights of the minority and vulnerable communities," she also said.

The SODELPA vice president, MP Ro Kiniviliame Kiliraki says Ambassador Shameem's comments were misguided and smacked of prejudice.

He said they amounted to a deliberate misunderstanding of the grievances of the indigenous community in Fiji and were contrary to international law on the rights of indigenous peoples.

"She should retract that statement. In fact we are calling for her resignation. It is out of line as far as Fiji is concerned. It is an insult to the indigenous people. And at that level, she shouldn't be there."

Radio New Zealand International
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