A long-time champion of human rights and supporter and friend of SPC, Ratu Joni had consulted on various RRRT activities, including its Regional Judges and Magistrates Consultations, Regional Lawyers Consultation, delivering the Human Rights modules of the University of the South Pacific Professional Diploma in Legal Practice, and contributing to the latest Pacific Human Rights Law Digest.
SPC Deputy Director-General (Suva), Dr Audrey Aumua, said: “Prompting the full and equal realisation of human rights for all men, women and children is not always an easy path. But, it is a path that Ratu Joni walked eagerly with SPC for many years”.
“Our victories are his victories. While he will be greatly missed, his vision of a peaceful and prosperous Pacific will continue to inspire us at SPC,” Dr Aumua said.
“We are so saddened by the loss of Ratu Joni who has been an invaluable asset to the Board and to the work of RRRT throughout the years. He has a special place in the heart of Solomon Islanders as well for his contributions as a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I am with SPC’s RRRT team in spirit and thought as Fiji and the Pacific mourn the loss of a great son whose service has been of immense value and purpose,” RRRT Board member and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children & Family Affairs in Solomon Islands, Ethel Sigimanu, said.
“A person of immense wisdom and principle, his loss will be felt deeply in Nauru, Fiji, RRRT and right across the Pacific,” current RRRT Board members and Director of the Faculty of Law of Auckland University’s Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice, Rosslyn Noonan, said.
“Remember that the actions of a few, with commitment, can alter the course of history” – Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi
SPC Senior Human Rights Adviser, Romulo Nayacalevu, said, ““Ratu Joni was a respected member of the legal fraternity and of nobility, yet at RRRT, he mingled, mentored and advised us on how best to strategize on our crucial engagements with the legal fraternity, the judiciary, as well as the Pacific governments we serve. He endeared himself to us and his empowering words challenged us on at RRRT to remain steadfast to the values and ideals that he himself espoused. He certainly was a champion amongst us and we have had the unique privilege of serving alongside him. As an advisory board member, Ratu Joni shared with us his matchless experiences, practicality of engagement and wisdom which are part of the memories that will live on in most of us and within RRRT and SPC as a whole.”
Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi was a chief, traditional leader, lawyer and former Vice President of Fiji. He sat on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Solomon Islands in 2008 and held the title of Lord Madraiwiwi Tangatatonga in Tonga, providing legal advice to His Majesty King George Tupou VI and being responsible for the settlement of disputes over noble titles, and in 2014 was appointed Chief Justice in Nauru. In 2014, Ratu Joni accepted an invitation to serve on SPC’s RRRT advisory board.