Racial discrimination remains a barrier to the full realization of human rights, says Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Pravesh Sharma.
As Fiji joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today, the HRADC reaffirms its commitment to work closely with its stakeholders in creating awareness to combat racism and racial discrimination.
Sharma said to protect one against racial discrimination, a safeguard has been included under the Bill of Rights Chapter in the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji Act 2013. Section 26(3)(a) states that a person must not be unfairly discriminated against, directly or indirectly on the grounds of his or her actual or supposed personal characteristics or circumstances, including race, culture, ethnic or social origin and colour.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, therefore, everyone should respect and uphold these important human rights values and unite against racism and racial discrimination.”
“We should all celebrate the diversity and promote inclusiveness by working together to co-exist in our multi-cultural and multi-religious setting, respecting each other’s rights.”
He said the Commission will continue to create awareness through public outreach and advocacy in communities and in schools on the human rights principles of dignity, equality, respect, and tolerance.
“The Commission is hopeful that everyone will remain united in eliminating conditions that perpetuates racial discrimination. We wish everyone a happy International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.”
The 2023 theme of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination focuses on the urgency of combatting racism and racial discrimination, 75 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” on 21 March 1960.