Racial stereotyping whether by government or opposition is unacceptable - Raj

Racial stereotyping whether by government or opposition is unacceptable - Raj

By Rashika Kumar
Saturday 22/02/2020

Ashwin Raj, the Director of Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission says racial stereotyping is unacceptable and it is an anathema to the constitutional values of common and equal citizenry regardless of whether it is used by government or opposition.

Government Whip Alvick Maharaj had earlier said in parliament that the National Federation Party leader is a puppet to SODELPA and two National Federation Party parliamentarians.

The Party President, Pio Tikoduadua had responded yesterday by saying that when Maharaj made those comments he was saying that since he(Tikoduadua) and the Lenora Qereqeretabua are indigenous Fijians, they dictate to the leader, an Indo-Fijian, to support anything done by SODELPA, whose members are indigenous Fijians.

He adds that this is racism at its worst.

He also says that racially insulting an MP is also not racism to Raj.

He says Raj is quick to label opposition MPs of racism for even asking Government to release data based on ethnicity.

Raj says the comment by Maharaj may be construed to be disparaging if someone is being referred to as a “puppet”, an expression which is readily invoked in politics, but certainly not racist because in his speech, Maharaj makes no reference to race or ethnicity in relation to the NFP.

He says clearly, the NFP has decided to do an overdetermined analysis of a speech that makes no pejorative reference to race or ethnicity.  

Raj adds that he refuses to be embroiled in this retrogressive conversation with Tikoduadua.

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