“We need to write our stories and sing our songs together not necessarily in unison or in tune but in a way that makes space for all of us.” – Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.
Women’s and feminist groups in Fiji are mourning the loss of a great leader, ally and friend, Na Roko Tui Bau, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.
Ratu Joni was a human rights defender, Fiji’s former Vice-President, lawyer and judge who served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nauru until his passing on Thursday, 29 September 2016.
“Ratu Joni was a long-time ally of the movement and part of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement membership,” said Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) Acting Executive Director Michelle Reddy.
“He’s left behind a great legacy of good leadership and character and will be remembered for his resilience in pursuing justice and pushing for equality even during the nation’s most turbulent periods.”
Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) Coordinator Shamima Ali said: “Ratu Joni’s passing will be keenly felt by many, including those of us that have worked closely with him and relied on his wise counsel around women’s human rights advocacy and democracy in Fiji and the region.”
A pro-democracy activist, Ratu Joni was vocal in his support for human rights, the rule of law and social justice.
“It is a sad time for Fiji and the Pacific. Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi provided practical support and encouragement to women human rights defenders, feminist activists and collectives over decades. For example, many don’t know that he was a patron of Women’s Action for Change (WAC) for many years. He was just a lovely, generous, smart person who will be missed by many,” said Noelene Nabulivou, of Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality.
“He was a great leader to all, whose dedication to what he believed in, was and will always continue to be an inspiration for all of us that knew and worked with him,” said femLINKpacific Executive Producer-Director Sharon Bhagwan Rolls.
The women’s groups offer their deepest condolences to family, friends and colleagues of the late Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.