Towards a Fiji that respects and protects human rights
Thursday October 27, 2011
The Fiji NGO Coalition on Human Rights supports the call by the Equal Rights Trust to Commonwealth Governments for the
recognition of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons and in particular the
removal of discriminatory provisions in their legislations.
"Laws criminalizing same-sex sexual conduct are contrary to international human rights law and the 2009 Affirmation of
Commonwealth Values and Principles which includes a clear commitment to tolerance, respect and understanding’, said
Shamima Ali, Chair of the NGO Coalition on Human Rights.
"Many of the laws forbidding homosexuality are the vestiges of colonial British sodomy laws which were not removed once
the countries gained independence and have been used to fuel homophobia, transphobia, discrimination and violence
against those who are LGBTI or have non-normative gender expressions.”
Same-sex sexual conduct is currently prohibited in 42 of the 54 countries which are members of the Commonwealth of
Nations including Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu from the Pacific region.
“We applaud Nauru for committing to decriminalise homosexuality but note with grave concern that Papua New Guinea,
Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga have all rejected recommendations to decriminalise same-sex sexual conduct,” Ali added.
Fiji’s NGO Coalition on Human Rights has also applauded the Equals Rights Trust and other individuals and organisations
calling on the Commonwealth Heads of Government to take immediate steps to repeal legislation that criminalises same-sex
The Equal Rights Trust (ERT) is an independent international organisation whose purpose is to combat discrimination and
promote equality as a fundamental human right and a basic principle of social justice.
In its submission ERT urges the Heads of Government to establish a Ministerial Action Group to address the issue of laws
criminalising same-sex sexual conduct and advise states on the legal implications of retaining such laws, and to include
a commitment to tackling laws criminalising same-sex sexual conduct in the final communiqué of the 2011 meeting in
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.