Annual Full Day Meeting: Rights of the Child
Statement of Fiji at the annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child on the theme ‘protection of the rights of the child in the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development
Human Rights Council
Fiji thanks the panel for their valuable contributions. Our children are one of the most important resources of our nation as they are our future leaders. Their welfare is our priority and their safety is our concern.
Fiji recognises and agrees that the most disadvantaged children are the ones which are left behind and these include children with disabilities, in particular, girls. We also agree that the 2030 Agenda pledge to leave no one behind and to reach those furthest behind is strongly aligned with the human rights imperative to tackle inequality and discrimination, which undermine the realisation of the rights of children.
Fiji believes that education is the key to progress, to freedom and to equality. However, education must not be a preserve of the privileged, or for boys alone, or for children of a particular social, racial, economic or social background. Access to education means free education, with an enlightened curriculum which includes the thread of equality, respect and dignity. Since 2015, education in both primary and secondary schools in Fiji is free and compulsory. Scholarships and access to tertiary education has now been transformed into an open, competitive and inclusive system. We recognise that in order to realise the right to education and to implement Goal 4 of the SDG’s we must continue to ensure that the quality of education offered to children is the same in rural and urban areas, and also in maritime and remote settlements. This continues to be a challenge for us, but we recognise, that the right to education is fundamental to development.
Having said that, though our Governments free education program, free textbook program, free bus fare program are some of the many ways in which we are trying to realise the rights of children and provide support to families, we recognise that without proper disaggregated data, and proper monitoring of the progress, the success of the 2030 Agenda will not be fully realised and those children who are the furthest behind may not be reached.
We agree that a human rights based approach to data will be central to the identification of children being left behind in a more systematic and reliable way, and we look to the international community and development partners to support Fiji and other developing nations to strengthen our civil registration systems and data collection, as this will not only assist in identifying those children left furthest behind but also contribute towards the monitoring of multiple and intersecting sustainable development goal targets.