Archive for April, 2012
Friday, April 27th, 2012
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
THE University of the South Pacific (USP) had a women-dominated graduation ceremony at the Vodafone Arena yesterday.
“Today’s graduation is one of the largest USP graduation ceremonies with 1447 students of 19 different nationalities receiving certificate, diploma and degrees,” USP vice-chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra said.
He said more than 55 per cent of all graduates were women and the vast number of medals and prize recipients were also women.
In his address, Professor Chandra said receiving the certificates, diploma or degrees did not signal an end but rather the beginning of a long journey.
There were 15 graduates from non-member countries including six from Papua New Guinea.
“I am pleased to report that the university continues to make significant progress and is reforming itself with vision, passion and energy into a higher quality, more relevant and sustainable university,” Professor Chandra said.
In his vote of thanks, the male graduate with the best combined academic performance and all- round service to the community Tevita Tuiloa said when he walked past the university gates in his first year as a student, he never dreamt that one day he would get to stand where he stood yesterday.
Professor Chandra reminded all graduates that they must continue to learn and better themselves.
“Many of you will become leaders in politics, commerce and in the communities and I am confident that all of you will make very worthwhile contributions to your families and the world,” he said.
He also reminded them to be ethical in their future work and lead a life of impact and willing to make a difference.
Source: Fiji Times 14/04/2012
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
FemLINKPACIFIC Special Report
15 April 2012
“12th April 2012 marks a historic moment in Fiji’s history and the history of our women’s movement. This inaugural national Women’s Forum brings together women from rich and diverse backgrounds – our women speak with voices that represent women with disabilities and living with HIV, as well as different faiths, cultures, sexualities, gender identities, ages, demographics and opinions. Women make up 49% of the voting population.” (Outcomes Statement, Fiji Women’s Forum)
There needs to be ongoing investment in processes led by women say the co-convenors of the Fiji Women’s Forum as they announced plans for follow up Forum to be convened by June 2012 which will focus on Civic education, Temporary Special Measures to Increase women’s participation in national and local government, the Bill of Rights and Security Sector Governance.
Co-convened by the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, FemLINKPACIFIC, National Council of Women and the Soqosoqo Vakamarama I Taukei, the Women’s Forum is a very important parallel state process road map which will monitor the state’s roadmap to ensure compliance to all human rights conventions, rights and treaties while also enhancing collaboration between key women’s organizations and networks to enable and empower more women to be part of national political processes especially from within their local communities:
“We would like to be part of those preparatory programmes and we would like to have an input into the curriculum of those programmes, engender those programmes, so that those programmes are indeed participatory. And because they are participatory, they can be labeled legitimate for us because we are talking about the process of constitution making. And at the same time, the women would like to do this in a safe environment, like safe spaces for this participation. Some of the laws prohibit us from talking freely and participating freely. That’s also something that we as forum would like to be assured of,” said the General Secretary of the Soqosoqo Vakamarama I Taukei, Adi Finau Tabakaucoro.
She was speaking at a joint press conference convened the day after the historic conclusion of the Women’s Forum: “The principles of participation, transparency, accountability, respect for human rights and respect for the rule of law are fundamental values which must be respected by every person in our country.”
According to the April 12th Outcomes Statement of the Fiji Women’s Forum, any new or reformed Constitution must entrench a strong Bill of Rights which builds on the benchmark of freedoms and rights included in the 1997 Constitution of Fiji and integrates international human rights treaties and norms:
“The State must respect the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association. If people cannot meet freely and speak without fear, they will be unable to effectively engage in the ongoing democratization process. In this context, it is imperative that the State immediately repeal the Public Order Amendment Decree and all other repressive decrees.”
Plans for Fiji Women’s Forum activities at divisional and provincial level will bring together members of the National Council of Women and Soqosoqo Vakamarama I Taukei for a series of interactive learning and advocacy training including community radio and theatre including the development and translation of material as part of a collective quest to achieve 50% representation by women in political party and government.
The Outcomes Statement, say the co-convenors reiterate concerns raised in dialogue with the representatives of the state, including Mr. Aiyaz Saiyed Khaiyyum and Govind Sami (Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women) the co-convenors voiced concern regarding the lack of opportunity to inform the Terms of Reference of the Constitution Commission announced on March 9 (2012) and also inform the development of civic education:
“Learning from the lessons of our past, we call for a transparent process for endorsing the constitution in a collaborative and inclusive manner ensuring that all of the peoples of Fiji play a meaningful and genuine part in the making of our constitution. This means that the State may not – at any stage of the process – arbitrarily impose its own views on the women and the people of Fiji.”
Participants concurred that any process must be legitimate, participatory and inclusive to ensure that the democratic State has popular sovereignty. One option they say is a National Referendum to adopt the proposed 2013 Constitution.
For more information please contact: Sharon Bhagwan Rolls (+6799244871)
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