Fiji: LGBT rights campaigners say discrimination remains a major issue
Whilst holding week-long events to raise awareness, Fiji campaigners for LGBT rights have said that, despite some slow progress, there is still a long way to go, and that discrimination against LGBT people remains a problem.
The country is marking the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), which marks the World Health Organisation’s decision on 17 May 1990 to remove the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, in the International Classification of Diseases.
Drodrolagi Movement spokesman Kris Prasad, said in an interview with Radio Australia that, despite Fiji having decriminalised gay sex in 2010, there is still bullying and discrimination in the country.
“In Fiji, we removed the sodomy laws in 2010 and…we have some policies in place in terms of workplace and other human rights protection,” he said.
“A lot of people are facing discrimination in their families, workplaces and [there are] also cases of bullying,” he said.
He continued: “There is a lot of discrimination from the state as well, especially when it comes to access to security services, as in getting access to police, and getting access to health services.”
2013 will mark the third year in a row that the Drodrolagi Movement has organised week-long activities to advocate for LGBT rights and equality.
The organisation has been holding rainbow chalking events throughout the week, in order to raise public awareness.
“Due to the public environment we live in, we can’t really be chalking in public spaces so what we’ve been doing is chalking in organizations that are supportive of our movement,” Prasad said.
In order to draw attention to homophobia and transphobia, a peace vigil and peace party will be held.
The UN Human Rights Office released the video message to mark 2013′s IDAHOT, featured the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, and addressed LGBT people, saying “you are not alone”.