Fiji: Situation of Indo-Fijians in Suva; particularly women (2007-2009)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Publication Date||18 November 2009|
|Citation / Document Symbol||FJI103287.E|
|Related Document||Fidji : information sur la situation des Indo-Fidjiens à Suva, en particulier celle des femmes (2007-2009)|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Fiji: Situation of Indo-Fijians in Suva; particularly women (2007-2009), 18 November 2009, FJI103287.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4dd226f82.html [accessed 22 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The Commonwealth of Nations describes Suva as "a multiracial city comprising Fijians, Indo-Fijians, Europeans, Part-Europeans, Chinese, and other Pacific Islanders" (n.d.). The Economic Development Centre (EDC), which specializes in Asia-Pacific development issues (EDC n.d.a.), states that, in 2007, the population of Suva was 55 percent indigenous Fijian, 30 percent Indo-Fijian, 3 percent Rotuman and 12 percent other, including Europeans, Chinese and Pacific Islanders (ibid. n.d.b.).
Information on the situation of Indo-Fijians in Suva, particularly women, was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, a professor of Development Studies at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Fiji provided the following information in correspondence with the Research Directorate:
The situation of Indo-Fijians in Suva depends on their socio-economic situation and political connections. Generally, their sense of insecurity is broadly shared but those in lower socio-economic statuses (a majority) are more likely to be subject to home invasions and mugging compared to their wealthier and more well connected counterparts. Such people also tend to be ignored by the police. (16 Oct. 2009)
The USP Professor stated that there are Indo-Fijians on the police force in Suva but that "their numbers have declined over the last four coups" (16 Oct. 2009). Further information on whether there are Indo-Fijians on the police force in Suva could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
The USP Professor provided the following information regarding Indo-Fijian neighbourhoods in Suva:
Residential segregation is no longer official policy although in rural and urban areas there are exclusive ethnic Fijian villages. In the urban neighbourhoods of Suva generally speaking the ethnic settlement patterns are fluid, however it is still correct to identify certain localities as primarily Indo-Fijian. Thus, the Fiji Muslim League squatter settlement in Samabula is Indo-Fijian as is the relative new settlement in Nadawa, Nasinu. (16 Oct. 2009)
Further information on Indo-Fijian neighbourhoods in Suva could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
With respect to Indo Fijian women, the USP Professor stated that they
generally remain subordinated to their husbands, fathers and male relatives. Younger women are getting educated and gaining confidence but there is a large category of women, including Indo-Fijian women who are marginalised and vulnerable to domestic and other forms of violence.
Media censorship means that their conditions and those of the community as a whole are not publicly discussed. (16 Oct. 2009)
A 6 October 2009 Australian Network News/Pacific Media Watch (ANN/PMW) article states that media censorship prevents public criticism of the courts' treatment of domestic violence cases.
According to the Fiji Times, Indo-Fijian women have the third highest suicide rate in the world (9 Oct. 2008).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Amnesty International (AI). 2009. "Fiji: Paradise Lost." (ASA 18/002/2009).
Australian Network News/Pacific Media Watch (ANN/PMW). 6 October 2009. "Fiji Domestic Violence Concern." (Pacific Scoop)
Commonwealth of Nations. N.d. "Suva City
Capital, Republic of Fiji Islands."
Economic Development Centre (EDC). N.d.a. "Welcome to the Website of the Economic Development Centre."
_____. N.d.b. "Suva City Profile."
Fiji Times. 9 October 2008. "Fiji Suicides Rank World's Third Highest." (Factiva)
Professor of Development Studies, University of the South Pacific (USP). 16 October 2009. Correspondence.
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: Attempts to contact three other professors at the University of the South Pacific (USP), a representative of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, a representative of the Fiji Women's Rights Movement, a Simon Fraser University (SFU) professor specializing in the South Pacific, a representative of the Citizens' Constitutional Forum (CCF), an official with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Fiji, a representative of the Sydney Fiji Times and an official with the Fiji Human Rights Commission were unsuccessful. A professor at the Australian National University (ANU) College of Asia and the Pacific was unable to provide information.
Internet sites, including: Asia Observer, Asia Society, Asia Times Online, Asian Human Rights Comission (AHRC), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), European Country of Origin Information Network (ecoi.net), femLINKpacific, Fiji Government, Fiji Law Reform Commission, Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), International Women's Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) Asia Pacific, Minority Rights Group International (MRGI), Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UN Refworld.