Fiji Defers Bid To Seat On UN Human Rights Council

PM says diplomatic resources better directed toward climate change, COP23 Presidency

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 15, 2017) – Fiji will defer its candidacy for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

This was announced by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Nadi yesterday.

Mr Bainimarama said he made the decision after giving much thought to the challenges the country was facing with increasing extreme weather, the effects of these events on ordinary Fijians and the challenges of the COP 23 presidency.

"The changing climate is placing challenges before all of us, which is why I will be dedicating a good part of the next year to leading the global effort to slow that change down and help people adapt to it," he said.

"It is so important that I have decided that Fiji will defer our candidacy for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

"We are a small country, and this year our ambassador in Geneva and our foreign-policy resources need to be focused on climate change and our presidency of COP 23.

"We simply cannot do them both and do them well.

"And right now, climate change is the wolf at our front door. But I can assure you that we will renew our candidacy following our presidency of COP 23."

Fiji's ambassador to Geneva Nazhat Shameem had announced the country's intention to seek a seat on the council during Fiji Day celebrations in Switzerland last year.

The UNHRC is made up of 47-member States who are elected by the general assembly by direct and secret ballot.

Member states are selected based on their contribution, promotion and protection of human rights within their respective countries.

Fiji Times Online.
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