3 Sep 2002

Former New Zealand race commissioner encourages Fijians to speak out about racism

6:49 pm on 3 September 2002

Former New Zealand race relations commissioner, Gregory Fortuin, says good people in Fiji can speak out against racism and other injustices and make a difference.

Mr Fortuin, who is in Fiji for a seminar on human rights, says Fiji's race problems can be overcome if all leaders including politicians and clergy men take stand against racism.

Mr Fortuin has told Fiji TV that from what he has seen, while political leaders talk about perceived racial differences, the grassroots people don't seem to believe in it.

He says church leaders must be careful about what they preach because of their power to influence.

Mr Fortuin says one should never underestimate the power of the church in either promoting racial division or promoting harmony.

Mr Fortuin also says that every single citizen of a country must have equal rights and the state should never address disadvantages and disparity at the expense of seombody else.

He says it is time for the people of Fiji to rise up and say they won't have racial divides.