As the nation prepares to vote in the upcoming general elections, the NGO Coalition on Human Rights implores all stakeholders as well as the people of Fiji engage in a peaceful transition of power upon the election of the next government.
The NGO Coalition calls for free and fair elections to reflect the will of the Fijian people.
It says voting is a fundamental human right, and one of the few opportunities we have to ensure we weigh in and express our preferences on who we choose to govern us and in the way we want to be governed.
The NGO Coalition says make your voices be heard, loud and clear.
It reaffirms that a free and fair election is an opportunity for Fijian citizens to not only exercise their right to vote but to exercise other civil liberties such as freedoms of speech, association and assembly and deep democracy.
The Coalition says since the announcement of the 2022 elections, political debate and public dialogue has also increased and should be encouraged but without personal attacks and maligning.
It says Fijians should be able to make a free decision when casting their vote.
The NGO Coalition says a country cannot be truly democratic until its citizens have the opportunity to choose their representatives through elections that are robustly conducted, free and fair.
It says elections will also allow for peaceful, democratic political transitions.
The NGOs say this is vital in building longevity for our fragile parliamentary democracy.
The NGO Coalition on Human Rights is a coalition of civil society organisations that works towards a Fiji that respects and protects human rights and fundamental freedoms within the framework of the rule of law.
It says Fiji’s history is littered with dissatisfaction and coups and the upcoming general election is an opportunity for us to take our place in the region as a beacon of hope, freedom, and democratic values.
The NGO Coalition also calls on the State to ensure that all can freely participate including women as representatives of half of our population and all at risk, vulnerable and marginalised groups such as youth, members of the LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, those in informal settlements, rural and maritime areas and others are protected and that their access to services are not impeded in any way.
It also notes efforts by the Fiji Elections Office in the dissemination of information for voters from all backgrounds and promoting awareness for the 2022 elections.
The Coalition says it is now time for all Fijians to act on the fundamental civic right to vote as work for deep democracy and human rights for all.
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