JOURNAL OF PACIFIC STUDIES
Title:Approaches to inter-group conflict resolution in Fiji
Author:Ramesh, Sanjay
Subject:Conflict resolution|Fiji
Volume:Vol.31 no.2, 2011
Collation: p. 183-196

Abstract:

This paper utilises inter-group theory to propose resolution of inter-group conflict between indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians. It is argued that a three-pronged approach is required to enhance better inter- group relations. First, a national identity that is widely embraced by the community is needed. The People’s Charter for Change has proposed ‘Fijian’ as a common name: this idea has been vigorously contested by indigenous nationalists whereas Indo-Fijians see ‘Fijian’ as a vehicle for reclaiming their social identity in the country. Second, it is argued that there is a need for the establishment of some form of truth and reconciliation structure, aimed at reconciling the perpetrators and the victims of political crimes within the country and providing amnesty for those telling the truth while compensating the victims. It is argued that previous attempts at reconciliation via the Racial Tolerance and Unity Bill ended in a disaster necessitating a more structured, culturally sensitive approach. Third, it is argued that there is need for the implementation of multiparty governance through multiparty committees that could be customised to cement consensus democracy in the country. Fiji has had experience in the past with multiparty committees, and similar structures can be incorporated within the parliamentary system to manage inter-party and inter-group conflict.
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