Ratu Naiqama, paramount chief of Cakaudrove, says the Government is using a “front” organization to mislead landowners.
The high chief presided over a recent meeting of the Bose Vanua ko Cakaudrove on June 19th where the proposal to establish the Native iTaukei Resource Owners was made. Ratu Naiqama said the terms of reference for the proposed Native iTaukei Resource Owners Committee stated categorically that it was based on the principles of UNDRIP, the ILO Convention 169 and the Convention on Biological Diversity for the acknowledgement of the rights of the Indigenous community to self-determination of their own destiny and that right is extended to the Management of their resources and environment.
Ratu Naiqama said it was a matter of public record and regular exchange between the SODELPA and Government, including heated debates in Parliament when the Prime Minister himself has defended his government’s decision not to ratify UNDRIP.
Yet here we have a government delegation no less presenting a proposal under the guise of it being in line with the principles of UNDRIP which their Government refuses to ratify. According to Ratu Naiqama, to be in line with UNDRIP, the Government needs to remove all decrees affecting the iTaukei and for which the prior consultation or consent was not obtained from the iTaukei community.
The piece meal approach by Government is a further attempt to not only ‘misinform’ but ‘undermine’ the rights and aspirations of the iTaukei community and the Province of Cakaudrove has rejected this outright.
We call on the Government to ratify UNDRIP and then sit and talk with our people about how best move things forward.
Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu