The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, Mr Mutuma Ruteere, delivered his Report on his visit to Fiji from 7 -12 December 2016, at the 35th session of the Human Rights Council today.

At the outset, the Special Rapporteur thanked the Fijian Government in accepting his request to visit Fiji.

The Report highlighted among other things, Fiji’s legal and institutional framework to combat racism as well as different policies and initiatives undertaken by the Fijian Government, against racism and xenophobia.

The Report also analysed the main challenges in the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including the relationship between the different communities, the issue of land ownership, the absence of disaggregated data and how to balance freedom of expression and protection against hate speech.

In response to the Report of the Special Rapporteur, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Nazhat Shameem Khan highlighted that Fiji welcomed the visit of the Special Rapporteur and his constructive report, and advised the Human Rights Council of Fiji’s commitment at its Universal Periodic Review, to welcoming Special Mandate Holders, and that Fiji has kept true to its word.

Ambassador Khan further highlighted that the visit of the Special Rapporteur allowed for an objective assessment of standards after the Fijian Government had set in place strong measures to remove racism from government institutions and social policies.

The visit also commenced an intelligent and informed dialogue within Fiji itself, about the sorts of policies which would enable an ethnically equal society in which diversity is welcomed and unity is promoted.

Ambassador Khan reiterated Fiji’s belief in inclusivity and unity and thanked the Special Rapporteur his constructive report.