Social post referring to “visitors” worrying: Raj

August 11, 2022 6:20 am

The People's Alliance Provisional Candidate Liliana Warid (left) and Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director, Ashwin Raj

In a country that has been marred by so much discord, acrimony and political violence, it’s extremely important that we create unity and foster mutual respect for diversity.

This is Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director, Ashwin Raj’s response to a statement posted on The People’s Alliance Facebook page by provisional candidate, Liliana Warid.

The post refers to the word “visitors”, used describe to Indo-Fijians. This is in relation to her post in which she claims that the indigenous people of Fiji are being marginalized.

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Warid, who is married to an Indo-Fijian, claims in the article that the i-taukei are being left behind.

She goes on to pen that “one should imagine visitors who have travelled some distance, and you welcome them into your home and they are not going back anytime soon. They are hard workers. You learn a lot from each other, share food, and become friends. However, there are still distinctive differences between you and your friends such as physical makeup, religious beliefs, culture, and traditions. Over time, you find that by no fault of theirs, life has become extremely hard for you, but your friends appear to be thriving while you continue to struggle. This is a picture of where we are today in Fiji.”

Raj says the 2013 Constitution affords every citizen the privilege and right to be called a Fijian.

“I find it concerning that this is coming from a provisional candidate of a political party, and so my question is whether the political party in question subscribes to and endorses this view. I understand this particular political party is making post-election arrangements with other political parties. I’m wondering whether these other political parties also subscribe to the views espoused by this provisional candidate.”

Raj says this is not the first time that this issue has come about and the continuous racial connotation is worrying.

Meanwhile, FBC News reached out to Warid earlier today for a comment and she had agreed for an interview, asking that we send her questions.

Later when contacted, she referred all queries to the party media head, Samisoni Pareti.

The party so far has refused to make any comment on the matter, only saying that it is waiting clearance from its lawyers before making a comment.

This is the second time the word “vulagi” has been used in politics.

In 2019, during the SODELPA AGM, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu had labelled the National Federation Party and the Fiji Labour Party as old parties made up by ‘vulagis’ or visitors.