Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Committee on the Elimination of
Sixty-first session (5-23 August 2002)
471. At its 1530th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1530), held on 8 August 2002, the Committee conducted a preliminary dialogue with representatives of the Government of Fiji and, at its 1543rd meeting (CERD/C/SR.1543), held on 19 August 2002, adopted the following observations.
472. The Committee welcomes the presence of the Fijian representative and notes the submission of the sixth to fifteenth periodic reports of the State party, due biennially from 10 February 1984 to 2002, respectively, and presented in one document, as well as an updated core document. The Committee appreciates the desire of the Government of Fiji to renew its dialogue with the Committee and commends the State party for the efforts it has made.
473. The Committee, noting that the report is incomplete in many aspects welcomes the undertaking of the delegation to submit to the Committee a completed report by 30 September 2002 so that its examination can be scheduled for the sixty-second session in March 2003.
474. Responding to the suggestion of the State party in its note verbale of 7 August 2002 that questions and requests for further clarification as a result of the submission of the reports be presented in advance, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure that detailed information is submitted on the following:
(a) The social confrontation and economic decline that are reported to occur in Fiji in connection with the allegedly politically polarized race relations, in particular between indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians;
(b) The significance and consequences of the reservation and declarations formulated by the State party, in particular those relating to the implementation of article 5 of the Convention and indigenous rights;
(c) The results, if any, of the court challenge introduced in 2001 against the alleged ethnic imbalance in the Government;
(d) The alleged cancellation in June 2001 of the charity status of the Citizens Constitutional Forum, a multi-ethnic NGO, after it filed constitutional challenges against the Government in court.
475. The Committee wishes the State party to provide more information on existing mechanisms in Fiji to address racial discrimination under both domestic and international law and on their accessibility and efficiency.
476. The Committee notes that first steps have been achieved by the Fijian authorities towards consultation with NGOs in the process of drafting a periodic report and encourages the State party to pursue its efforts in this regard. It recommends that the completed report be made widely available to the public from the time it is submitted to the Committee.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights