Student bodies in institutions of higher learning such as Indian Students Association and Itaukei Students Association have an explicit racial tag.
These are the words of the Director of the Human Rights and Anti‑Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj when FijiVillage asked about the existence of student bodies such as Indian Students Association and Itaukei Students Association in major universities in Fiji.
Raj says the Commission is concerned that despite the strong non‑discriminatory provisions in the Fijian Constitution, various institutions both private and public through their representative bodies continue profiling along racial lines.
He says employee representations through unions such as teachers unions are still premised along racial lines as well as religious denominations that are still divided along racial lines.
Raj says the Commission has received numerous complaints from concerned members of the public in relation to racial profiling.
He says the Constitution under section 26 (7) states that treating someone differently from another on any of the prohibited grounds is discriminatory unless it can be established that the differences in treatment is not unfair in the circumstances.
He says while these institutions by virtue of who they are (student associations, unions and religious bodies) should be at the forefront of creating an equal and inclusive Fiji, can they explain why their continued existence is so dependent on racial profiling.