1. BRAZIL LAUDS FIJIAN PEACEKEEPERS, CALLS FOR DEFENCE COOPERATION – The Brazilian Government has praised the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) for its efforts in restoring peace in volatile regions across the world.
2. MINISTER FOR LABOUR ADDRESSES ILO ASIA PACIFIC MINISTERS’ MEETING IN GENEVA – Fiji has done well to protect the rights of migrant workers in the country and does not discriminate against them.
3. FIJI – BRAZIL RELATIONS TO GROW EVEN STRONGER – Relationship between Fiji and Brazil will be strengthened even more now that we have an embassy here.
4. FIJI RECORDS VAST DECREASE IN CHILD LABOUR CASES – The Child Labour Unit at the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment has recorded a vast and significant decrease in child labour cases over the past three years across Fiji.
5. SHOESHINE BOYS RECEIVE TIMELY ASSISTANCE – The Minister for Youth and Sports, Viliame Naupoto donated sporting equipment to members of the Qauia Volleyball Club in Suva this morning.
1. BRAZIL LAUDS FIJIAN PEACEKEEPERS, CALLS FOR DEFENCE COOPERATION
The Brazilian Government has praised the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) for its efforts in restoring peace in volatile regions across the world.
Brazilian Minister for Defence, Celso Amorim conveyed his country’s message during a meeting with Fijian President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Defence House in Brasilia yesterday.
Mr Amorim said for a country of Fiji’s size and population, the nation has certainly punched above its weight and continues to be admired the world over.
“The Brazilian Government would like to thank you and the people of Fiji for ensuring peace in troubled regions of the world and you continue to do so,” Mr Amorim said
“Handling situations in areas such as Iraq, Sinai and Golan Heights is no easy feat and all Fijians should be proud of it. Brazil also sends its troops to Lebanon and we are well aware of the heroics of Fijian soldiers in these areas.”
He added that Brazil wanted to join hands with Fiji in different arms of the defence forces through a cooperative framework.
“We would like to train and work very closely with Fijian soldiers including those from the Navy. Joint exercises would be very beneficial to forces of both countries as we will learn off each other especially in surveillance and monitoring of exclusive economic zones of both countries,” Mr Amorim added.
The Fijian Head of State who is also the commander in Chief of the RFMF welcomed the interest from the Brazilians and said he was interested in seeing the talks to fruition.
“We are very much interested in training and exchange programmes with your country and upon my return back home will have discussions on how we could explore this further,” Ratu Epeli said.
2. MINISTER FOR LABOUR ADDRESSES ILO ASIA PACIFIC MINISTERS’ MEETING IN GENEVA
Fiji has done well to protect the rights of migrant workers in the country and does not discriminate against them.
The Minister for Labour was responding to the address of the ILO Director-General Mr Guy Ryder on labour migration.
The Ministers were informed that Fiji has proactively ensured that a host of socio–economic rights have been made available for our citizens and that all of these would apply to migrant workers. Fiji is one of the few countries in the world that provide these rights to its citizens in our Constitution.
These socio-economic rights include the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to a clean environment. In addition to these rights the people who live in Fiji, both citizens and non-citizens, have a greater right to access to justice through the extended and constitutional role of the Legal Aid Commission.
Similarly, all rights of workers under the labour and OHS laws apply equally to migrant workers. Our law enforcement officials have implemented these laws seriously and such implementation has resulted in victim compensation and criminal sanctions.
The Minister also said that large numbers of our own nationals are themselves migrant workers and he expressed concern that Fijian workers were not given the same protection that the laws of Fiji provide.
Fijian workers are often susceptible to exploitation and are vulnerable due to the lack of laws in other countries to protect them. Remittances from labour migration have proved to be the second largest contributor of foreign exchange for Fiji. The Minister however expressed concern on the cost of sending remittances to Fiji.
The Minister also pointed out that Fiji is sometimes over reliant on skilled workers from other countries and that these expatriate workers do not always help us to develop our own skills in Fiji.
The Minister acknowledged the value of the seasonal work schemes available for the Pacific Islanders in more developed countries, saying that such schemes help to diminish the significant rates of unemployment amongst Pacific Islanders.
The Minister highlighted that although the rich countries have benefitted from the large Pacific ocean resources, the Pacific Islands find it difficult to access these markets for employment opportunities and trade in services.
3. FIJI – BRAZIL RELATIONS TO GROW EVEN STRONGER
Relationship between Fiji and Brazil will be strengthened even more now that we have an embassy here.
Those were the words of the Fijian President His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau who is currently on an official visit to Brazil.
The Fijian Head of State made the comments during his traditional welcome ceremony at the Fiji embassy where he met staff of the Fiji mission.
“I have no doubt that the relations between our two countries (Brazil – Fiji) will continue to grow,” he told the staff.
“Your work here is very important in bringing the two nations closer and our footings have never been on solid grounds before. I am certain that we will work closely with the Brazilian government for the benefit of our two people.”
He also gave his best wishes to Brazil for the FIFA Soccer World Cup which will starts later this week.
“We are here at a very important time, a time when the whole world has eyes on Brazil and please convey my best wishes to the Brazilian team which is playing host to the world cup,” Ratu Epeli said.
“They are a very good side and we wish them all the best.”
4. FIJI RECORDS VAST DECREASE IN CHILD LABOUR CASES
The Child Labour Unit at the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment has recorded a vast and significant decrease in child labour cases over the past three years across Fiji.
Acting Labour Minister and Minister for Youth and Sports, Viliame Naupoto stated this while speaking to school students and teachers at the World Day Against Child Labour celebrations in Suva today.
Mr Naupoto said the Child Labour Unit received and successfully resolved two cases this year compared to 41 cases received in 2013.
“We can note that we have so far received the following cases of child labour which have been resolved by the Child Labour Unit of the Ministry. In 2011, we received 64 cases out of which 55 were males and 9 females. In 2012, we received 64 cases out of which 24 were males and 40 females,” Mr Naupoto said.
“In 2013, we received 41 cases; 34 males and seven females while in 2014, so far we have received two cases, both males.”
The acting Minister said that from the reduction of child labour cases from 2011 to 2014, it is noted that the Fijian Government’s historic free education initiative and social protections plans with the reforms implemented are bearing fruits.
“The Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP) 2007 and the classification of the Hazardous Workplace list which came into effect on 28th May, 2013 is there to protect our children from any form of child labour.
“The ERP has also set a deterrent in place through heavy fines for those who continue to violate the law by employing children, where for an individual employer or person a fine of $10,000 or two years imprisonment can be imposed by the Employment Tribunal or for a corporation/company a fine not exceeding $50,000,” Mr Naupoto highlighted.
He stressed that children’s time is not for labour and urged all Fijians to strengthen their resolve to say no to and fight against child labour.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Extend social protection: combat child labour!”.
5. SHOESHINE BOYS RECEIVE TIMELY ASSISTANCE
The Minister for Youth and Sports, Viliame Naupoto donated sporting equipment to members of the Qauia Volleyball Club in Suva this morning.
The club consists of 14 shoeshine boys from the surrounding suburbs in Suva who are preparing for the upcoming FBC Marist Volleyball tournament.
Mr Naupoto handed over two volleyball balls, a net, whistle and pump to the boys at the FNPF Dolphin Plaza.
“Sport has been regarded as an agent for Social Change and it has multiple effects in people’s lives and in any nation,” said Mr Naupoto.
“These unemployed boys need to be supported so they can engage themselves in regular sports activities and tournaments and be distracted from other activities that deter their prosperity.”
“I’m wishing them well in the upcoming tournament and I’m also urging them to get registered with the ministry as a youth club so they can be entitled to further empowerment trainings and assistance in the future,” added Naupoto.
Club president Noatoga Tikomailepanoni Leweni said; “We are so grateful for this timely donation and it will really help us in our preparations for the coming tournament.”
“We have had having training matches in Qauia and we feel that we will are contemplating moving to Raiwai to have more exposure and training later this week or next week as the place is known for volleyball.”
“We don’t have a regular volleyball court in Qauia and we hoping one will be constructed in the area or in Lami so youths and budding players can be engaged in and utilise the facility apart from wandering aimlessly and involve in other illegal activities,” Leweni said.
He added that they will consider minister’s advice and be registered so they can be entitled to further assistance and also be recognised by other youth stakeholders.