Recognize the inhumanity of indenture system

May 13, 2024 4:25 pm

The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission strongly condemns the horrors and human rights breaches during the Girmit era.

Chair Pravesh Sharma made the comments as we pay homage to thousands of the Girmityas who were brought to Fiji from India by the British some 145 years ago under the Indenture System.

Sharma says the Girmit system represents a dark chapter in our history, marked by violence, abuse, exploitation and systemic disregard for human dignity.

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Available literature shows that around 60, 500 Indian migrant workers were shipped to Fiji from India, between 1879 and 1916, who were subjected to torture, harsh working conditions to forced labor, discrimination, and the denial of fundamental rights and freedoms.

Sharma adds that as we reflect on this painful history, today, it is important to recognize the historical injustices suffered during Girmit.

He states the victims of violence surely deserve an apology from their oppressors.

The Commission acknowledges that the descendants of the Girmityas have been afforded equal citizenry as stipulated in the 2013 Constitution and they continue to contribute in the development of Fiji, their home.

The Commission reiterates the importance to preserve historical memory, and foster inclusive societies based on equality, where human rights are upheld and protected for all.