Every individual has the right to be born with dignity and depart with dignity, then only we can build a better society, says the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

“Humanity- human kindness, affection, love and compassion are very important for any country to not just grow but also to mature, have respect for each other’s right and of course respect for each other’s beliefs,” the A-G said.

Speaking at the Ek Rangeen Shaam Musical and Fundraising Dinner event held in Samabula, he emphasised the importance of ensuring that every #Fijian has the right to have their final rites done with dignity.

This was the rationale that compelled the Government in 2018 to hand over the $920,000 funeral facility in Vatuwaqa, which includes a shradh ghat, to organisations representing Hindus.

The A-G added, “Death is inevitable, just as we are born so our rationale was, every individual has the right to depart with dignity and in fulfilling the rituals- we have ensured those rituals are carried out in a dignified environment and dignified manner”.

He said the Government has plans to replicate the facility in other parts of the country, and although it is not necessarily inexpensive there is a cost outlay, but it is important to ensure that it is done in a proper manner with land tenure.

These facilities, the A-G said, will be handed to different institutions and that’s why the Government has handed it over to all the Hindu organisations to collectively look after it. Meanwhile, the committee that looks after the Vatuwaqa Funeral Rites facility have made a submission to Government to charge a levy on its use as there are costs attached to maintaining it.

Committee chairman, Pandit Bhuwan Datt said so far they were spending $50,000 per annum in its maintenance, bulk of which goes in paying the security firm that provides security for the facility.

The A-G assured them that the Government was looking at the request for the levy that will be charged but explained that it needs to go through the Lands Department since it deals with State Land and reminded the committee of its responsibility.

“I would urge the committee to have it means tested, that is, there are some who might not be able to afford to pay the levy while others who can afford to pay more. So if the levy can be subsidised so that those that need to use the facility can do so.”

The event also saw the acknowledgement of individuals who were heavily involved in setting up of the facility through the presentation of certificates.

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