Chapter 19: Fiji and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: indigeneity and the right to self-determination in a majority-Indigenous context
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It is more than 40 years since the British colonial power withdrew from Fiji. The indigenous population's majority status was returned after coups in 1987 and a putsch in 2006 ostensibly in favour of paramount indigenous political authority. A 'coup to end all coups' in 2006 exposed the deeper complexities of indigenous Fijian politics and also the contested nature of the right to self-determination, enunciated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous in 2007, but not widely accepted as relevant to a people no longer a minority and no longer subservient to colonial authority. Demographic factors aside, there is an unresolved politics of class, personality and paramount military authority ensuring that indigenous Fijians remain subservient to colonial legacy. The Declaration, and its affirmation of the cultural, linguistic and resource rights that underly self-determination may help Fiji to achieve the political stability and certainty that is presently elusive.

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Edited by Dwight Newman