Effective and Inclusive Democracy
Yesterday, Fiji and the world celebrated International Day of Democracy. This year's theme was Democracy and Conflict Prevention. Initiated in 2007 at the United Nations General Assembly, the Day allows nations to focus on the critical need to strengthen democratic institutions to promote peace and stability.
National leaders are urged to take an integrated approach to foster resilient societies built on respect for human rights and the rule of law reinforced by effective and inclusive democratic governance. Democracy as we all know is as much a process as it is a goal.
It will take the full participation and support of the Government, civil societies organisations, religious bodies, communities and individuals.
It was also fitting for the Speaker of the House, Dr Jiko Luveni, to address members of Parliament yesterday during their last session for the year. “International Day of Democracy 2017, marks the 20th anniversary of the Inter-parliamentary Unions Universal Declaration on Democracy, and the 10th anniversary of the International Day of Democracy,” Dr Luveni said.
She said the two critical milestones re-affirms their shared commitment to protect and promote democracy.
Since 2015, the Fijian Parliament has been celebrating International Day of Democracy and engaging with Fijians around the country through various programmes.
This year has been no different. Dr Luveni and her team have made a special effort to create awareness for the day. She said the purpose is of promoting and upholding the principles of democracy.
Leader of Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa took the opportunity to once again take a swipe at Government. She claims that while the world celebrates democracy and reaps its fruits in terms of peace, progress and prosperity, Fiji continues to lag behind in this respect given the draconian laws that have been put in place to limit democracy in Fiji.
Well, that's what Ro Teimumu would say, isn't it. But there are more than a few things we sure can celebrate moving forward.
Here are just a few:
Fiji's return to democratic rule after the 2014 General Elections.
The 2013 Constitution published in the three lan guages including braille.
Our common identity.
Our independent judicial system.
Our lead role in international negotiations. Safe spaces and platforms for discussion and action.
Our preparations for the 2018 General Election While we may have different meanings of what democracy may mean for us, one thing is for sure – it is ultimately the will of the people that matters.
It takes you and I to make our democracy work.