Where is the same level of urgency for issues impacting our nation?

25 May, 2024


The NGO Coalition on Human Rights in Fiji watched the passing of a motion that guarantees shameful salary and benefit increases for the President, Speaker of Parliament, Ministers, Assistant Ministers, and Members of Parliament last night with a depleting sense of trust in our parliamentarians and the Coalition Government.

“It is absolutely shameful that only seven parliamentarians voted against the motion while five abstained. We would like to tell the 40 parliamentarians that supported the motion to listen to the voters because as public opinion displayed this week – the majority of Fijians do not agree with you,” said the NGOCHR.

The NGOCHR strongly believes that a special committee made up of parliamentarians should not decide the salaries and benefits of parliamentarians as this is the role of an independent committee or body that will do this independently of both the Parliament and the Government. The Coalition is also concerned with how the Parliament handled this motion as when the Parliamentary Emoluments Committee Report was tabled in Parliament this week there was agreement for the report to be debated at a later date.

“Where is the same level of urgency for issues impacting our nation such as poverty, violence against women and girls, drug use, high rates of HIV cases, food insecurity, climate change and unfair wages for workers,” asks the NGOCHR.

The NGOCHR reminds the Coalition Government of the country’s high national debt, high incidents of poverty where 400,000 Fijians are living below the poverty line, poor education outcomes for young people, poor quality healthcare services and compensation for public health nurses and doctors, crumbling water infrastructure where Fijian families continue to experience water disruptions and urgent need to pay our workers a wage to cope with increasing costs of living and ensure dignity in the workplace.

“A sad example is media reports this week of nurses buying syringes and needles for patients at public hospitals and nurses and security guards carrying women in labour down the stairs as the lift is not working at CWM Hospital,” added the NGOCHR.

The NGOCHR strongly believes that as active citizens of a democracy, we must hold our leaders accountable.

“Just because we voted for change does not mean we should blindly support our leaders. We must call out our leaders when we feel they are drifting from prioritising real issues. MPs are in their positions temporarily and could easily be replaced at the next general elections; it is the welfare of the people that should guide their decision making,” stresses the NGOCHR.


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