20 ๐‘ญ๐’†๐’ƒ๐’“๐’–๐’‚๐’“๐’š 2024

The Fiji NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR) and our allies, as staunch advocates for human rights and justice, expresses its profound dismay and unequivocal condemnation of the Fijian Government’s decision to submit a written statement in support of the Israeli genocidal occupation of Palestine, including East Jerusalem. This submission, made to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the context of hearings on the legal consequences arising from the policies and practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, places Fiji alongside the United States as one of the only two countries endorsing such a stance.

The NGOCHR calls upon the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs to immediately declare to the Fijian public as to who drafted the submissions on behalf of Fiji and why our country has taken this position.

This position is profoundly troubling and starkly contrasts the values of justice, freedom, and international law that the Fijian people hold dear. The occupation has been widely recognized by the international community, including the United Nations, as a violation of international law and an impediment to peace and the self-determination of the Palestinian people. In September 2023, the occupation, which has been enduring and marked by efforts to annex Palestinian land both legally and in practice, has been unequivocally deemed unlawful by the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and Israel. In October 2023, the Commission concluded that the permanence of the occupation and Israel’s annexation measures render it unlawfulโ€”a stance echoed by leading human rights organizations worldwide, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

The global consensus on this matter, formed by UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 and the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing and a host of international human rights NGOs, underscores the severity of the occupation’s impact on the Palestinian people. These reports detail egregious violations of human rights and international law, painting a stark picture of the suffering endured by countless individuals under the occupation.

By supporting the Israeli occupation, the Fijian Government not only isolates itself from the international community but also from the very principles of justice and human dignity it purports to uphold. Such a position undermines Fiji’s reputation and casts a shadow over its commitment to the values enshrined in international law.

The decision to support the genocidal, violent occupation raises serious questions about the processes and considerations behind Fiji’s foreign policy choices. It is imperative that the Fijian Government demonstrates accountability and transparency in its decision-making. The public has a right to understand how such positions, which significantly impact Fiji’s standing on the global stage and its moral compass, are determined. We call upon the government to disclose the rationale and any consultations or analysis that led to this stance.

This call for clarity is not just about ensuring governmental transparency; it’s about reaffirming Fiji’s dedication to principles that respect human dignity and international law. Without this openness, the trust between the Fijian people and their government risks being eroded, especially on matters of international significance that reflect on the entire nation.

The NGOCHR calls upon the Fijian Government to reconsider its position and to align its international engagements with the principles of human dignity, justice, and respect for international law. We urge the Fijian Government to demonstrate its commitment to human rights and justice by advocating for the rights of all people, including the Palestinian people, to live in peace, security, and dignity.

We stand in solidarity with those advocating for peaceful resolution of conflicts and upholding human rights worldwide. The NGOCHR will continue to monitor this situation closely and support Fiji in adopting a foreign policy that reflects the values of its people and the principles of international law.

Fiji is due to make its oral statement at the ICJ next Monday on 26 February at the Hague. We call on the Fijian public, regional partners, and the international community to join us in urging the Fijian Government to withdraw its support for the occupation and to work towards a just and lasting peace in Palestine.

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