27 Oct 2009

New Pitcairn constitution to spell out human rights

3:07 pm on 27 October 2009

The Governor of Pitcairn says the island is considering a new draft constitution because there was a need for a document spelling out human rights.

The island community is considering a draft constitution which will replace one put in place in 1970.

Governor George Ferguson, who is also the British High Commissioner to New Zealand, says the draft includes a state of rights based on the European Union Convention on Human Rights.

It also creates the post of Attorney General and defines the Governor's role, but Mr Ferguson says the main difference is the explicit setting out of people's rights.

"We have recently done legislation very much with the principles of Convention of Human Rights in mind, and we are pretty confident that we are broadly compatible with it. But it seems right to make the powers explicit, enable people to have the power to challenge legislation or administrative things in terms of those rights - make it an explicit power, rather than just self discipline on the part of the Government.."

George Ferguson, the Pitcairn governor