NGO Coalition condemns Govt's support for Israeli occupation of Palestine

NGO Coalition condemns Govt's support for Israeli occupation of Palestine

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 20/02/2024
NGO Coalition Chair, Shamima Ali

The Fiji NGO Coalition on Human Rights has condemned the Fijian Government's decision to submit a written statement in support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, including East Jerusalem and is calling on the government to reconsider its position and for the Prime Minister to declare to the Fijian public as to who drafted the submissions on behalf of Fiji and why such position was taken.

The International Court of Justice will begin hearings on Monday in a case against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories where Fiji and the United States are the only two countries endorsing such a stance.

In his opening remarks, Palestinian counsel, Paul Reichler says of all the States that submitted the written statement to the court, only Fiji attempted to defend the occupation as lawful.

NGO Coalition Chair, Shamima Ali says this position is profoundly troubling and starkly contrasts the values of justice, freedom, and international law that the Fijian people hold dear.

She says it is imperative that the Fijian Government demonstrates accountability and transparency in its decision-making.

Ali says 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.

She says they are calling upon the government to disclose the rationale and any consultations or analyses that led to this stance. Ali says 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.

She says 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 Chair says the NGO Coalition is also urging 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.

She says Fiji is due to make its oral statement at the International Court of Justice hearing on Monday at the Hague.

Ali is also calling on the Fijian public, regional partners, and the international community to join them in urging the Fijian Government to withdraw its support for the occupation and to work towards a just and lasting peace in Palestine.

Questions have been sent to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs. They are yet to respond.

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