3 Aug 2006

Fiji vice-president concerned by country's poverty level

9:48 am on 3 August 2006

Fiji's vice president has expressed his serious concern about the country's poverty level, adding that the poor are prevented from fully enjoying their human rights.

The Daily Post quotes Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi as saying it should be a matter that concerns everyone because in the long term it will affect all of society.

Ratu Joni says it has been fashionable to leave everything to market forces but they do not take care of the poor and the marginalised.

He says market forces have always been about the survival of the strongest on a less then even playing field - therefore it is necessary to take direct responsibility to reverse the trend.

Ratu Joni says while business is about maximizing profits, these profits do not have to be made on the back of exploitative practices.

The vice president has called on human rights activists and the government to take more responsibility to reverse the situation. .

Ratu Joni was speaking at the annual meeting of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions now under way in Fiji.