1 Oct 2002

Fiji women protest use of racial slurs in parliament

10:23 am on 1 October 2002

A group of nine prominent indigenous Fijian women has written an open letter to the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, expressing their concern about recent racial comments by the country's leaders in both houses of parliament.

They say of particular concern to them is the lack of a sense of responsibility and leadership displayed by the speakers.

The women say they are extremely disappointed by the example and standard of bnehaviour set by the current minister for women, Adi Asenaca Caucau.

They have urged the Mr Qarase to make a public apology for the minister's comments likening Indo-Fijians to weeds.

They say responsible leadership in a multi-racial society should not use such insensitive language in the highest decision making body in the land.

The women say that as mothers they want the prime minister to envision the kind of society they want to bequeath to their children where there is tolerance and respect for everyone's rights.

They say this can only be achieved if leaders such as the prime minister are big enough to apologise and to rise above the bickering of others.