Fiji will adopt an official position of support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007.
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said UNDRIP was the most comprehensive instrument outlining the rights of indigenous peoples in international law and policy.
“It sets minimum standards for the recognition, protection and promotion of these rights,” Mr Rabuka said.
“Although UNDRIP is non-binding, it represents the dynamic development of international legal norms and sets the standard for the treatment of indigenous peoples.
“Aligning Fiji to UNDRIP will ensure that the rights of Fiji’s indigenous people are again safeguarded and protected.”
He said indigenous rights were a category of human rights which were inherent, inalienable and indivisible. “Inherent in the sense that they attach to an indigenous person or native by virtue of their origin and belonging to an indigenous group.
“Inalienable in the sense that indigenous rights cannot be legislated or taken away — the rights belong to a native regardless of a law that may be passed. Neither can a native ‘give up’ or ‘give away’ his or her indigenous right,” Mr Rabuka explained.
“And ‘indivisible’ in the sense that indigenous rights are equal to all other categories or rights.
“Indigenous rights are not inferior or superior to other human rights, because all human rights are equal.”