Opposition member – Lenora Qereqeretabua says – It is not racist to want to ensure that the native traditional lands and fisheries of the first people of Fiji are protected.
Her concerns were raised in parliament today – after SODELPA Member – Inosi Kuridrani, was told to say “quote and unquote”, when he mentioned the traditional titles of the chiefs and chiefly households, he wanted to pay tribute to yesterday – as the Standing Orders prohibit members from speaking their mother tongue.
“This must change! This is the people’s house. How is it that we, the people, cannot use our own languages here? These are the languages we learned at birth. These are the languages in which we express our most intimate feelings. Why should this House only be a place for people who can speak good English? How can we talk about preserving our unique languages – our many Fijian dialects, our special Fiji Hindi – if we cannot speak those languages here?
The parliament of New Zealand made Te reo Maori an official language in 1985. MPs in New Zealand can address the house in Te reo with the use of an interpreter. We can have translators in our courts. Why can we not have them in this House?” – Lenora Qereqeretabua, Opposition Member.
Qereqeretabua also touched on the subject of Human Rights;
“I wish to remind the Hon Members of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.
Now that Fiji has been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council, I hope that the government will take a long hard look at the Amnesty International Report on Fiji, pointing out the need for government to establish an independent and effective mechanism to investigate and address the systematic use of violence by the security forces and police and to make such reports public.”