Prime Minister Josiah Voreqe Bainimarama deposited the instrument of ratification for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, formally committing Fiji before the international body to guarantee equal rights and dignity to people with disabilities.
He deposited the instruments at the UN Headquarters in New York during a ceremony on June 5, 2017 at which he spoke of Fiji’s commitment to full equality for all citizens.
“Today marks another historic chapter for my government in our pursuit of creating equal opportunities and rights for every Fijian especially those Fijians living with disabilities,” he said.
“We cannot have a progressive Fiji if one section of our community is unable to participate in this process because of their disability. We must always be inclusive if we want to progress together as a nation and today’s event is a step further in realising that objective, Mr Bainimarama added.
Call to unite on Climate Change
A day earlier, Mr Bainimarama urged leaders from the Pacific region to unite to present a strong case at COP23, the UN Conference on Climate Change, in Germany in November.
During his talks with Pacific Leaders on the sidelines of the UN Oceans Conference in New York, he updated them on Fiji’s preparations for the COP 23 negotiations.
He also encouraged the leaders to use COP23 as an opportunity to advance awareness on the impacts of climate change in the region.
“As incoming president of COP23, I want you by my side all year at the big events leading up to Bonn in November. This is not just about Frank or about Fiji but every Pacific leader, every Pacific nation, every civil society group, every private sector body, everyone who represents the ordinary men, women and children in the Pacific who look to us for leadership on this issue of critical importance to our collective future,” he said.
Mr Bainimarama said that a collective voice of commitment is imperative to ensure the success of COP23.
“I very much see this as a Pacific presidency – an inclusive process in which I ask you all to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Fiji as we give voice to the concerns of our own countries, our own region. And because we are among the most vulnerable to climate change, to also lead the fight on behalf of every vulnerable person on earth.”
“The Pacific cannot afford to drop the ball on climate action. We need to work together as a team to persuade the world to get points on the board if we are to ensure our own security and the security of generations of Pacific Islanders to come,” he said.