Last night the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) convened another public panel discussion as a safe space for public engagements with invited panelists on the platform’s designated theme “Promoting and Protecting Human Rights in Fiji: Political Parties and their Human Rights Based Approaches”.
The event that was at the Southern Cross Hotel Conference room was attended by over 50 participants (members of the public) who came to listen to the panelists deliberate on the theme which focused on issues of national interest, principles and processes of democracy, good governance, diversity, and
In her opening speech CCF Chief Executive Officer, Louchrisha Hussain, addressed that Human rights should be of importance to political parties because of their role in a democracy.
“Together with civil society actors, political parties have a duty to monitor and promote human rights. Human rights can guide parties in their work. One such aspect of their work would be the reviewing of policies and laws that affect human rights”, said Ms Hussain.
CCF had a similar event in April where discussions were focused on the theme ‘Human Rights in Fiji – The
Implementation of the Universal Periodic Review Recommendations from the 3rd Cycle.’ Building from the momentum of that successful event, CCF strategised to hold another platform for members of the public to engage with political representatives in a safe space to discuss issues pertaining to human rights.
“From the discussions arising out of the earlier panel and in anticipation of Fiji’s upcoming general elections, it was clear that as an organisation we needed to reactivate our role in convening safes paces for public discourse and discussions on human rights developments in the country”, said Hussain.
“More specifically, in the lead up to elections to convene a space for citizens to safely engage with all political parties and in doing so leaders realize the consistent efforts needed for the protection and respect of our inherent freedoms.”
“Participation is a core principle of human rights and also sets the very foundation for effective democratic citizenship,” added Hussain.
The event that was moderated by Mr. Stanley Simpson with the participationof Professor Shaista Shameem as the keynote speaker and a panel that includedrepresentatives of polictical parties namely; Mr. Viliame Gavoka (Leader of SODELPA), Mr. Varinava Tiko (New Generation Party), Mr. Savenaca Narube (Leader of Unity Fiji Party), Mr. Jagath Karunaratne (Freedom Alliance Party) and Ms. Monica Raghwan (Fiji Labour Party).
The event was also live-streamed on CCF’s Facebook page for viewers who were unable to attend in person and this was beneficial as it also allowed online participants to pose questions during the event.
In preparing for the event, CCF sent an invite to all 9 registered political parties in Fiji. CCF also highlights that it is not aligned with or to any political party.