Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama met the Australian Foreign Minister H. E. Ms. Marise Payne along the margins of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
At the meeting, the Australian Foreign Minister congratulated Fiji on its inclusion into the UNHRC, the first country in the Pacific Islands to be elected into the Council as a member.
The Prime Minister and Australian Foreign Minister recounted the visit to Fiji by the Australian Prime Minister and assessed the commitments made so far by both Fiji and Australia towards the joint outcomes made at the conclusion of the said visit; which included progress towards outcomes in the areas of security, trade and investment, peacekeeping, health, education, people to people exchanges and labour mobility.
Prime Minister Bainimarama took the opportunity to convey his personal gratitude to the Prime Minister of Australia and Minister Payne for the action they had taken in personally, taking up Fiji’s request with the United Nations, to maintain Fiji’s peacekeeping presence in the Middle East.
Prime Minister Bainimarama also thanked Australia for its support to Fiji at the Human Rights Council. Prime Minister Bainimarama said “Fiji is honoured to be elected a member and now Vice President of the UN Human Rights Council and as such, Fiji will be a strong advocate for Small Island Development State issues and strongly support Council initiatives on climate change, environment and internally displaced persons”
At the meeting, he said “Fiji would like to learn from Australia’s experiences and collaborate closely with Australia in advancing issues of importance to the Pacific region through the work of the Human Rights Council”
The Prime Minister also reiterated the need to work closely with all countries in the Pacific Island region to ensure Fiji’s membership of the Council, can represent the Pacific islands collective issues and areas of common interests.
The Prime Minister is in Geneva to attend the 40th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is taking place from February 25 to March 22 at the Palais des Nations.