S. Matai’s Condemnations

Postdate: 12/ 09/ 2007

The Editor
Daily Post

Dear Editor

The writer, S Matai ( DP,05/09/07) has condemned  senior politician , Mahendra Chaudhry and defended SDL  Party policies including Affirmative  Action Plan for indigenous Fijians and Rotumans. I beg to differ. United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) provides support for the rights of the indigenous people as long it does not contravene basic human rights for all..

I am afraid S. Matai is quite wrong in his assertion that UDHR can be quoted to condone racialised politics.

The most important thing to remember is that the main principle underpinning the establishment of the UN is equality of all people.

Everyone is equal and there cannot be unfair discrimination on any ethnic or racial ground imposed on anyone by the State. It is the State’s duty under international law to ensure everyone in its territory is treated the same as everyone else.

In a Resolution adopted by the UN Assembly, 6 March 2007 these principles are re-emphasized for instance , Article 2 states,

“Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.”

The same UN Assembly Resolutions concluding Article 46 says,

“Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations.”

It concluded, I quote, “The provisions set forth in the Declaration (i.e the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ) shall be interpreted in  accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good faith.”

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