Members of Community Advocates for Human Rights and Access to Justice gathered to refresh their knowledge and skills at a four-day brush-up-workshop in Nadi. (Photo: UNDP/Tomoko Kashiwazaki)

Nadi, Fiji
- Fijians should know their rights and should be empowered to exercise these rights. This is the goal of an initiative being undertaken by members of Community Advocates for Human Rights and Access to Justice who have gathered to refresh their knowledge and skills at a four-day brush-up-workshop in Nadi. The workshop, which opened today, is part of the Fiji Access to Justice Project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Project supports access to justice for impoverished and vulnerable groups through empowering people to access legal rights and services through the relevant key justice institutions, in conjunction with strengthening those key justice institutions to undertake improved service delivery. The Project is engaging a network of community advocates to extend rights knowledge to those in the most remote communities and establish a network of frontlines for public legal rights education and outreach work.

The EU Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, H.E Sujiro Seam said, “Respecting human rights is an essential element of democracy, which is one of the key values the EU supports. We recognize and promote the important role played by civil society and these community advocates in raising the awareness of people about human rights and strengthening a culture of rights and freedoms at the community level.”

Consultations that have been undertaken by the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (HRADC), combined with feedback from other legal outreach initiatives and non-governmental organisations’ inputs, clearly demonstrated the need to raise awareness and provide basic services, such as referrals and fundamental human rights to communities across Fiji.

Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director Mr. Ashwin Raj said, “I emphasize the importance of respect for, protection and promotion of human rights in Fiji to refresh the understanding of the community advocates so that they can talk about human rights with confidence to members of the community in a way that they will fully understand and embrace it.”

Participants at the workshop doing a SWOT Analysis on the role of human rights community advocates. (Photo: UNDP/Tomoko Kashiwazaki)
Photo: UNDP/Tomoko Kashiwazaki
Photo: UNDP/Tomoko Kashiwazaki

The workshop, which follows an introduction training in 2017, aims to provide more than 25 community advocates gathered today, who are members of youth groups, faith-based groups, CSOs and others, with an opportunity to refresh their knowledge on human rights principles, human rights-based approach, Fiji’s social and legal services, gender equality, and other important topics. The service providers from government agencies, institutions and civil society organizations will assist the participants with their expertise.

Legal Aid Commission Acting Director Mr. Shahin Ali said, “The Legal Aid Commission provides a variety of legal services in relation to civil, criminal and family laws to all Fijians, particularly to those who are unable to exercise their right to access justice for economic reasons. It is my pleasure to provide these community advocates with information about the legal aid services provided by the Legal Aid Commission and strengthen the role they play in communities.”

During the workshop, community advocates will reflect on their experience and put their upgraded skills into practice in the communities as part of the workshop.

UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Resident Representative Mr. Levan Bouadze said in his statement, “We have proven that reaching out to communities and working with them are the most effective ways to bring about change for sustainable development. Each community advocate will be a change maker in Fijian society by promoting respect for human rights and access to justice.”

The community advocates will also learn the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the focus of the Fiji Access to Justice Project which is Goal 16 - to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels; and Goal 5 to achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls. 

The community advocates workshop will end on Friday 4 October 2019 with each action plan.

For more information, please contact:

Tomoko Kashiwazaki, Advocacy and Outreach, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, email:; tel: +679 942 2193 

Kamni Narayan, Communications Unit - European Union, email:; tel: +679 3313 633 ext. 115 or Mohammed-Nazeem Kasim, email:; tel: +679 3313 633 ext. 110 or mobile: +679 9920 597;

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