11 Aug 2003

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs calls for love and trust between indigenous and non-indigenous

10:14 am on 11 August 2003

The Chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs has called on indigenous Fijians not to hate people of other races who have made the country their home.

The Fiji Sun reports that Ratu Epeli Ganilau made the call at celebrations to mark World Indigenous Day 2003 in Suva at the weekend.

Speaking in Fijian, Ratu Epeli said in a multi-cultural place like Fiji, indigenous Fijians could not be inconsiderate because it would mean interfering with the rights and freedoms of other people.

Ratu Epeli said it was about time Fiji had peace, and he called on all citizens to foster a spirit of sharing, love and trust, and not to look upon one another with animosity and suspicion.

He said if the non-indigenous prosper, the indigenous will prosper with them, but if the non-indigenous remain poor, the indigenous will remain poor with them.

Ratu Epeli assured indigenous Fijians that their rights over their land and resources are well protected and safeguarded in the constitution.

His assurance is in contrast with claims by nationalist politicians that the rights of indigenous Fijians are threatened.