42 villages identified to relocate due to climate change
Commission identifies another 19 villages to relocate

42 villages identified to relocate due to climate change

Commission identifies another 19 villages to relocate

By Mansi Chand
Sunday 21/04/2024
[Image: The Guardian]

The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission says if all 16 Pacific island countries had a Human Rights Commission, it would have made them a stronger collective voice on issues which affect them such as climate change which requires drastic action that will benefit people.

While speaking on fijivillage Straight Talk With Vijay Narayan, Commission Chair, Pravesh Sharma says it gets difficult for the 4 nations to stand up against those countries that are creating emissions.

The Chair says Fijians who live in coastal areas are affected by the rise in seawater that impacts their fishing habitat and farms and forces them to relocate.

He further says in April last year the government on its initiative identified 42 villages to be relocated and in the same period, the Fiji Human Rights Commission were doing a climate change project where they identified another 19 villages that need to be relocated.

Sharma says the government needs to visit all these areas and ask them what remedies they need while some do not want to move because of emotional connections such as cultural heritage.

He says there are 35 human rights in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution which include the right to a healthy environment, the right to live, the right to be treated equally, children's rights, migrants' rights and many others. He adds that disability, women’s and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex groups are doing their bit to promote the rights that affect their groups.

The Chair says as an independent watchdog institution established in 1999 they ensure that an educational team goes out regularly to communities, rural and maritime areas, schools, universities and markets to promote human rights culture.

Sharma says there are 16 nations in the Pacific region but only 4 countries have human rights institutions including Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji.

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