Phase 3 - Fiji
Racial Discrimination and Minority Rights
Pacific Concerns Resource Center conducted activities aiming at raising people awareness on racial discrimination in Fiji. The organization conducted a one-day seminar for student leaders and victims of racism and intolerance. Topics addressed during the seminar included: international human rights treaties, status of ratification to international human rights treaties and the Fiji Constitution. The seminar was attended by twenty five student’s leaders and five teachers from twelve secondary schools in Suva. At the conclusion of the seminar, a speak out project was organized with the purpose of providing a forum whereby young people could speak in public on their views about racism and intolerance. A multicultural group performed a drama depicting the inter-racial tensions and conveyed messages on the role of youth in the reconciliation process. The project received wide coverage on television and was broadcast on radio. Educational materials produced (calendars, posters, stickers) were distributed to schools in Suva. The project provided the opportunity for young people to learn that there is positive approach to resolve conflict without resorting to violence; it also encouraged young people to develop links and networking for peace. In order to ensure that the momentum and enthusiasm of young people are maintained, the organization planned to hold regular meetings to discuss other means of fundraising and membership drive for future sustainability.
Promotion of a culture of peace, tolerance and coexistence among ethnic groups
The Fiji Community Education Association organized and conducted a four-day seminar aiming at conveying messages of tolerance and respect for Christians and non Christians among youth, church and community trainers in Fiji. Approximately 41 community leaders of different origins such as ethnic Fijians and members of Christian, Hindus and Muslims faiths participated in the seminar. Topics addressed during the seminar included: attitudes and strategies for working with people from different backgrounds and guidelines for reconciliation in Fiji. At the end of the seminar, participants were able to confront stereotyped beliefs about race and religion. They were also equipped with the necessary skills to conduct human rights training programmes. Recommendations adopted included the organization of training workshops and the development of programmes aiming at combating racism.
Virtues Project Fiji conducted workshops on tolerance, unity, justice and truthfulness for teachers, scholars and parents in selected schools of the Lautoka region in Fiji. Participants were invited to reflect on attitudes and behaviors towards racial discrimination. At the end of the workshop, evaluation results indicated that participants acquired greater understanding of racial attitudes and behaviors and that the project had a positive impact on students’ perception of respect. Teachers who actively participated in the workshop engaged themselves to duplicate the knowledge they acquired during the workshop and work with the material provided to continue building the same sense of tolerance, unity, justice and truthfulness for all students. Schools have been provided with a copy of the Education Guide elaborated by the organization. The project’s outcomes also revealed that just one teacher in school working intensively on one of the virtues disseminated during the workshop can bring tolerance, unity, justice and truthfulness into actions in the school community.
Tisi sangamconducted a project aiming at promoting tolerance, coexistence and multiculturalism: activities carried out included art performances in remote areas of the region so as to represent the multiculturalism and diversity of Fiji society. Thus, dance performances represented Indian classical dance, Indian folk dances, Fijian traditional dance, and Polynesian dance. Art performances were seen as a major tool for conveying message of peace and mutual understanding.