20 Jul 2006

Call for common identity for Fiji Islanders

3:20 pm on 20 July 2006

Calls have been renewed in Fiji to remove ethnic labels and give everyone a common national identity by calling them Fijians.

The Daily Post reports that the latest calls have come from a government senator, Dixon Seeto, and the chairman of the Fiji Media Council, Daryl Tarte.

Senator Seeto has told a seminar in Suva that he cannot understand why indigenous Fijians are still described as Fijians and Indians as Indo-Fijians while other races are called "others."

He says people need to shed their emotional considerations to enable everyone to come under one national identity as Fijians.

Mr Tarte says although his forefathers had come to Fiji more than a hundred years ago, indigenous Fijians still describe him as a "vulagi" or visitor.

He says Fiji is his home and he feels deeply about this.

Mr Tarte says this generation has an obligation to try and forge a nation of united people by describing all citizens as Fijians.

Fijian nationalists have said calls to describe everyone as Fijians were an attempt to steal their identity.