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Indigenous people of Fiji are firmly in control of their destiny-Bai

Indigenous people of Fiji are firmly in control of their destiny-Bai

By Tokasa Rainima
Thursday 23/04/2015

A Fijian government delegation has said in a UN meeting that the indigenous people of Fiji are firmly in control of their destiny.

The 14th session of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is currently underway at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Permanent Mission’s First Secretary, Gene Bai, advised the Forum that Fiji’s 2013 Constitution is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

He spoke about the relevant provisions in the Constitution of Fiji that specifically protect the rights of the i-Taukei.

The Forum heard that the i-Taukei enjoy full rights to land, culture, institutions and religion, with all these rights firmly protected within the constitution and the nation’s written laws and regulations.

In no way, the Fijian Delegation affirmed, should these rights of the i-Taukei be perceived to be under threat.

Bai said the constitution affirms that the ownership of all i-Taukei land shall remain with the customary owners and that i-Taukei land can never be alienated by sale or transfer.

He explained that for the first time, the constitution’s Bill of Rights sets out the right to a fair share of royalties for the landowners of any minerals found under their land or under the seabed in which they have customary fishing rights.

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