Rabuka extends invitation to all descendants of Girmitiyas overseas to return to Fiji

Rabuka extends invitation to all descendants of Girmitiyas overseas to return to Fiji

By Vijay Narayan , Navitalai Naivalurua
Monday 13/05/2024
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka. Photo: Fiji Government

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has today extended an invitation to all descendants of Girmitiyas to return to the land of their ancestors as Fiji’s new immigration exemption policy ensures a warm welcome, allowing them to reconnect with their roots without barriers.

Rabuka made this call to the descendants of Girmitiyas living overseas as he delivered his message on Girmit Day celebrations today.

He says the Indentured Labour System stands as a dark reminder of a painful past endured by generations and yet, from the depths of adversity, emerged a testament to the human spirit’s triumph against insurmountable odds.

He says as we commemorate Girmit Day, let us pause to reflect on the journey of reconciliation, forgiveness and healing that we have embarked upon together, as a nation.

Rabuka says the resilience of more than 60,000 Girmitiyas that were brought from India under the Indentured System have contributed to every facet of our society.

He adds their plight is also well documented and could be accessed through the National Archives.

The Prime Minister says through the meticulous work of the National Archives, descendants of Girmitiyas today have access to invaluable documents and information about their familial heritage.

He is encouraging young people to take advantage of the available resources at the National Archives.

Rabuka says today, historians recognise the Indentured System as a form of slavery and human trafficking and works such as Professor Brij Lal’s “ The Tamarind Tree” shed a glimpse into the live of Girmitiyas, their experiences and struggles.

He says we must honour the Girmitiyas legacy by acknowledging their sacrifices and embracing the lessons they impart.

The Prime Minister adds the descendants of the Girmitiyas have woven their presence into the fabric of our nation, contributing to every facet of our society.

He says as we celebrate their contributions, we must also confront the wounds of our past and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission stands as a testament to their commitment to healing, providing a platform for turth-telling and reconciliation.

The Prime Minister is extending an invitation to all descendants of Girmitiyas to return to the land of their ancestors as Fiji’s new immigration exemption policy ensures a warm welcome, allowing them to reconnect with their roots without barriers.

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