Haus of Khameleon Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment

Haus of Khameleon Dr. Leli Darling with UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment

Haus of Khameleon Dr. Leli Darling with UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment

FIJI COUNTRY VISIT BY  UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment :  Haus of Khameleon  Submission December 10 , 2018 .

Dr. David R. Boyd

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment

Associate Professor of Law, Policy, and Sustainability

Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability

School of Public Policy and Global Affairs

University of British Columbia 



HAUS OF KHAMELEON –The Flagship Organisation For Transgenders in Fiji.

The  Haus Of Khameleon, is a Transgender Led and Membered Social Justice /Advocacy Organisaton highlighting and referring Human Rights  Incursions  towards Transgenders in Fiji . 

We would  be making  submissions combining the  following thematic areas  ; Climate change/Deforestation/Air quality/Land issues/Biodiversity – both ocean and terrestrial/ Agriculture/Mining /Water and sanitation.

DISCLAIMER : This  is  our observation and conclusions based on our lived experiences and realities as well as what we  see and hear on the ground and read about  in our mainstream Medias , both Print and Television . Social media  reports  also offer an alternative  country-wide view, though we are cognisant  of its  shortfalls especially Fake News. 


With  “unmeasured/unstudied /unquantified ” though visible and  FELT,  marginalisation , discrimination , hatred , violence and murder of  Transgenders in Fiji , we  are  apprehensive and fearful of how we will be received  and treated  by our Society  in times  of  Climate Disaster /Natural Disasters .

Fiji, through the Bainimarama Government’s 12 year rule  from 2006  till 2018 , with a further 4 years now  till 2022 ( total of  16 years  rule )  is  at a crossroad between endeavoring to morph  into a  DEVELOPED Nation  like   Singapore ( often mentioned by our Prime Minister +Attorney General  ) , and  trying  to preserve our  Natural Flora and Fauna , pristine beaches , clean rivers  , unpolluted  air  etc etc.

We  the Transgenders are aware of the many  Development Projects  in  Fiji  , that attract foreign revenue , promise to create meaningful and gainful employment and boost  our economy , with projected improvements in living standards and GDP. We are also aware that most , if not all  developments   disturb , change and destroy  our pristine rivers and waterways , oceans  and corals , mangrove  swamps , clean water supply and  breathable air . 


People in Fiji  are enveloped in a Climate Of Fear  that stems from torture , killings and instant job terminations of high profile citizens , since the  2006 Coup . Many civilians died from torture and brutality at the hands of security forces  in the ensuing years following the coup . People who speak out are  visited at their homes  by Police and taken in for questioning. Criminals  on the run are brutalized and a few died in Police Custody . 

A 19 year old boy named  Sakiusa  Rabaka out on a night of fun plus  four of his friends in Nadi on January 24 , 2007 were detained at Black Rock , a Military facility in Nadi . Their crime was smoking marijuana and they were tortured and beaten until one  of them lost consciousness . Another boy was then forced  to perform oral sex on his  unconscious  friend . Upon release  Rabaka died  of his injuries a few days  later . The RFMF attempted to frustrate the criminal investigation into this incident and refused  to allow Police to interview the 8 Military Officers suspected of involvement . The police then lost the file , necessitating that much of the investigations be redone. The DPP ultimately charged  8 RFMF soldiers and one police officer with murder , at which point the RFMF tried  to send them abroad on a UN Peace Keeping Mission. The attempt was nearly successful with only a last minute  intervention resulting in the accused being asked to de-board a UN Chartered  plane at the Nadi  Airport .

The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) was established on 4 April 2007 , charged with fighting corruption in the Public Sector . Big Businesses were targeted with huge  Tax penalties and Executive Officers of Government Allied Organizations accused  of corruption were instantly terminated without notice ,  and forced into a long court process. 

FICAC was quickly seen as a way Government punishes anyone who  question its affairs. Many of these cases were ultimately acquitted years later , but the suffering and damage done  to the individuals and their families were  immense and very public . Now  its  a common talking point  that any businessman that oppose Government , will be audited by the tax-man and roped into  FICAC.

Unsurprisingly, there is  fear to question  the Environmental impacts  of Government projects.  Environment  Impact Assessment (EIA)  that are truly  Independent and trustworthy are difficult  to ascertain and verify.  Public consultations  , that are integral components of an EIA  are  not heard of . These processes tend to be rushed often benefiting Big Companies and Investment interests.  Opposition parties  highlight  the high level of  Government debt . Government boasts  to be the first government spending a huge  amount  on Roads , Airports and Infrastructure development . Our fear is that Government is rushing   these projects  that  destroy our pristine environment , to  balance  its  books.  In addition Government is accused of Vote Buying prior  to the 2018 General Elections  by literally giving away Free Cash to citizens in what Opposition terms “Freebies”. 

This  Climate of fear  is  indoctrinated  and  permanent  in Citizens  psyche .People  who  demand  proper  EIA’s  for  Environmental Destructive  projects  , fear  victimization from the State and  self-censor  themselves in silence. 



Mining started  in Bua, Vanua Levu , in 2011 by Chinese  Company , Xinfa Aurum Exploration with a total earning to date , of $F50.6 Million. The soil is shipped  to China en-masse for processing. Mining still continues today. Villagers  claimed  State Victimisation , forcing  them to agree and sign on the dotted line leasing  their land  to the Chinese . When it rains  Red soil drench  the rivers and estuaries ending  up  in the ocean as a Red Tide.  Villages  reported  a decline  in Marine  resources like fish , mussels  and shellfish . Reassurances  from the Ministry Of Environment  that  the “Red Ocean” phenomenon is NOT environmentally destructive , but its without qualified studies to the fact .


The Waisoi Project  in Namosi started in October 2015 .It  is a copper and gold  mining project in the pre-feasibility phase right now . Its a joint venture between  three companies , Newcrest (Fiji_Ltds , Mitsubishi Materials  Corporation and Nittetsu  Mining Company. Namosi Youths  are opposing this  project .We fear  that  soon the State  will prevail and mining will start  , destroying the famous  prisitine  waterways  of  Namosi, filled  with  freshwater delicacies  that contribute  to peoples  food security. Floodwaters have already contaminated streams from this  exploration site during a recent  flooding at the site .


 Was started  in 2017 by China Railway First Group   with the excuse  of  relieving  flooding  up river. Later  it was realized that this  Company was also doing  mining explorations  to find  minerals  and ores  that could be  harvested . The  Prisitine  estuaries  and land  near  the  river mouth  , that used to attract  picnickers and swimmers , was completely  destroyed by muddy  soil . The company  recently  stopped work and  left  their  rusting equipments and debris  behind, that litter  the river mouth till today .


In 2015, Fiji Electricity Authority, now called Energy Fiji Ltd , the sole provider of  electricity in Fiji, raised  the Wainisavulevu weir by 8 meters amidst questionable EIA reports .Environmentalists  , Nature Fiji Mareqeti Viti ( NFMV) claim the EIA was not done to standard  and the project  will flood  more  forests  , that are responsible  for the cloud  cover  needed  to balance  Vitilevu’s climate .  

The environmentalists and the Fiji Times Newspaper that  carried the story were attacked and  vilified by Government as they concluded that  loss of  cloud cover would lessen rainfall and cause more  drought  on Vitilevu . The Western Division are now regularly suffering  Droughts   that are longer  and more  vicious then previous  years.


Savusavu’s Nawi island facing the harbor lagoon , has been bulldozed to build  a Marina  early this year  2018  . Debate  is ongoing as to why the mangroves were  sacrificed  for this project  .

Mangrove swamps  near  all urban centers in Fiji ,   continue  to be sacrificed for development .


Fiji Water  has been extracting ground water in Yaqara since 1996 .With  water shortages  all over the world  it’s a fear  that  these  unmonitored  extractions  will contribute  to water scarcity  on Western Vitilevu . To date  there are al least  2 other  New Water  Bottling companies in Fiji ,and we wonder if soon our ground water will dry up .


Lautoka City  foreshore regularly is covered by a Blue  Dye  , which  no one seem to know the  source . Ba river regularly discoloured with dead fish washing ashore and Fiji Sugar  Corporation (FSC ) is blamed  for discharging toxic waste  into the river . The same story is true  in Labasa’s  Qawa  River  that has turned foul from FSC’s chronic discharge into  the river .


In December  2017 , this  Rubbish  Dump on the outskirts  of Lautoka City burned  for 5 days  straight spewing  toxic  fumes  into the  suburban residential areas of  the City. This  is  not a new  problem , in fact   this  dump  has been a sore sight and stinking shame  for more then a decade , but nothing has been done .


Floodings of these  towns in Fiji has been a constant reality  for the past 5 years and no one  seem to know  what to blame and what do do  . Deforestations in the mountains , Poor Town Planning and Drainage , Climate Change Higher then normal rainfalls  and shallow  Outlet River mouths  have been proposed as  CAUSES . Citizens suffer  loss of Homes , White Goods and Furnitures  and the financial  cost  that come with that , adding  onto the burden of  Poverty , Unemployment and Homelessness . 

A few days  ago the Attorney General was in the news awarding  a Japanese  Company the task  to save  Nadi Town from floodings. We wait  with baited breaths.

These  are some  of  the  Environmental happenings  in Fiji  that  Haus Of Khameleon  is  closely  watching  with trepidation .


Transgenders  share these  concerns  with the rest  of the population .

When Environmental Disasters or  Natural Disasters happen in Fiji , we  Transgenders are vulnerable  due to the prevalent reality  of  discrimination and  Non-acceptance in Fijian Society   . In a report carried  out by a local LGBTIQ Organization  titled “Down By The River”, 30 trangenders  shared  their  experiences during  Tropical Cyclone  Winston in 2016. First  they  couldn’t get into  evacuations centers  due to their  fear  of  discrimination and weathered  the height of  Cyclone Winston inside  a toilet open to the elements . They were also  discriminated against  during Governments Cyclone Relief Ration distribution after the Cyclone .

So this  is  our FEAR -  Where will we go and Who will ensure  our safety during  Natural Disasters? To date  there are still no  state  regulation or law   that  safeguards  Transgenders during  disasters  in Fiji  and  our  safety in these  tumultuous  times of  Climate Change  and frequent Natural Disasters, is  not guaranteed .

Ideally  Evacuation Centers  should  have a Separate Designated area with good security for  LGBTIQ  people and should  be adopted  as a Regulation/SOP for the relevant  Ministry  looking after Disaster Relief .

If Fiji  does not balance  the urge  to  rapidly DEVELOP the Nation  with Environment Protection, focusing rather on the short-term lucrative gains in  Government Revenue, Improving  the numbers in Employment Figures , and political point scoring, an Environmental Calamity  awaits .

And the whole Nation suffers .

Presenter :  Dr  Leli  Darling .

Phone: +679 83 11161 

Sulique Waqa