Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says they are disappointed with the inadequate representation of civil society organisations invited to meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit to Fiji last Saturday.
He says the list made available today is singularly lacking in CSOs that represent the people most affected by human rights restrictions and violations in Fiji.
Chaudhry says the workers were not there and women’s organisations who are usually quite vocal were apparently not invited.
He adds US engagement with Pacific Island nations would be much more meaningful were it to focus directly on the upholding of human rights and internationally recognized democratic norms.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with members of Fijian civil society during his visit over the weekend.
Those that were part of the CSO Roundtable are Paula Vivili who is the Deputy Director-General Science and Capability for the Pacific Community, President of the Fiji Law Society Wylie Clarke, Entrepreneur and Facilitator for Academy of Women Entrepreneurs Sharyne Fong, Alisi Rabukawaqa who is the Marine Spatial Planning Project Liaison Officer for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Co-Founder of Apitonga Taholo Kami and Executive Director of the Fiji Council of Social Services Vani Catanasiga.
We have sent questions to the the US Embassy in Suva regarding the concerns raised by Chaudhry and a response is expected soon.
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