Ef­fec­tive and In­clu­sive Democ­racy

Fiji Sun - - Comment - ROSI DOVIVERATA Feed­back: rosi.doviverata@fi­jisun.com.fj

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.

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