Fiji: Listen to youths, chief pleads

opposition fiji

Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa is accompanied by Ratu Suliano Matanitobua followed by Semesa Karavaki after a Parliament sitting. Picture: FT File

Siteri Sauvakacolo | The Fiji Times

GOVERNMENT and Opposition must listen to the youths of Fiji.

The plea was made by member of Opposition Ratu Suliano Matanitobua in Parliament yesterday.

The Tui Namosi referred to conc­erns of Bua urban youths who ca­l­led for wider consultation in the district of Wainunu for the prop­o­sed Wainunu bauxite mine.

“The network is stressing the need for development that is foc­u­s­ed and driven by the people, where all members of the community are meaningfully involved in all stages from consultation, negotiation to monitoring stage,” Ratu Suliano said.

“The network is calling on the Government to abide by the principle of free, prior and informed consent when approaching and negotiating with landowners for the use of natural resources for large scale extraction, such as bauxite mining.

“The network is calling on the iTaukei Affairs Board, which had consistently advocated free, prior, informed, consent in radio prog­r­ams and its public consultation since mid 2014, and the network hopes that it does so, to genuinely empower landowners, and not merely pay lip service.”

Ratu Suliano said proper information given to landowners would allow them to have free and prior informed consent and they would be able to negotiate for the best possible returns that would compensate the loss of livelihood, environmental degradation and their inability to practise their culture during the development.

He added that the youths of Bua were calling on the Department of Environment to abide by their mission and work towards ensuring issues that dogged the Nawailevu mining project were never repeated.

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Filed under Exploration, Fiji, Human rights

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