25 Jul 2005

Fiji's vice president stresses fundamental human rights

10:36 am on 25 July 2005

Fiji's vice president says indigenous and fundamental rights cannot exist without one another.

The Sunday Times reports that Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi says one right should not be used to undermine the other.

But Ratu Joni says most indigenous Fijian people hold the belief that they are the original inhabitants, they own the land and so their rights should be above the rights of all others.

The vice president says human rights are fundamental because people are born with them and they should not be undermined using indigenous rights.

Ratu Joni was speaking at a weekend Roundtable on Human Rights, Indigenous Rights and Nationalism, organised by the Fiji Human Rights Commission.

Nationalists in Fiji claim that indigenous rights should supersede human and constitutional rights of other communities.