Panel Discussion 1: Annual High Level Panel - Human Rights Mainstreaming - 27.02.2017
Permanent Mission of Fiji to United Nations Geneva
Statement of Fiji at a panel discussion on the annual high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming on the theme ‘The contribution of human rights to peace-building through the enhancement of dialogue and international cooperation for the protection and promotion of human rights.
Human Rights Council
Fiji welcomes this opportunity to speak on this subject and thanks the panel for their valuable contributions. Fiji acknowledges particularly the important work done by the office of the High Commissioner and the willingness to engage with Fiji to assist in our compliance with the standards which bind us and guide us.
Fiji also acknowledges the challenges inherent in the work of the High Commissioner, often manifested in legislative, policy and political barriers to peace-building and agrees that peace-building requires country-tailored strategies based on principles of national ownership, leadership and inclusivity.
Fundamentally, peace must be built on a foundation of a human rights culture in each country and each region.Thus the inexorable relationship between rights and peace.
To this end, Fiji has opened its doors to the special mandate holders and has forged a constructive relationship with the Office of the High Commissioner. Fiji welcomed the visit of the Special Rapporteur for Education in December 2015, and the Special Rapporteur against Racism and Xenophobia in December of last year. We look forward to further visits of special mandate holders to Fiji this year and will continue to work hard at implementing all our UPR commitments by 2018, when our next cycle Report is due. Indeed Fiji has found that the UPR process has helped our country to continue to strengthen a human rights culture.
The presence of a Pacific regional office of the High Commissioner in Suva is important for ensuring an equitable share of attention on the transition towards
a human rights culture in Fiji and in the Pacific Island countries. Its retention is important as it enhances dialogue for international cooperation for the promotion of human rights. Such dialogue leads inevitably to sustainable development and sustainable peace, in the context of the building of a human rights culture in our region. After all, peace can only be built for long term survival on a foundation of equality, dignity and respect. And such equality must be reflected in rights to development, including social, economic and cultural rights.
The Fijian Government will continue to work closely with the UN Pacific regional offices and various other UN systems at the global, regional and national level and is currently engaged with the office of the High Commissioner on various projects, including on the rights of persons with disabilities, a project on a child’s rights workshop for the judiciary and the upgrading of cell facilities for the corrections services. We are also working with UNDP and the EU on implementing UNCAT in Fiji, including by transforming Fiji’s criminal justice processes.
Such initiatives and partnerships help to translate the work of human rights in Geneva to Fiji and the Pacific and thereby for sustaining long term peace in our region.