31 Dec 2012

Fiji constitution destruction may harm international relations - NGO

6:10 am on 31 December 2012

A human rights watchdog in Fiji says the police confiscation of Fiji's draft constitution will hurt the country's international relations.

The document's author, Yash Ghai, says the police seized all 600 copies from the printing shop a day after he presented it to the president.

And Professor Ghai told Radio Australia the officers poured kerosene on the proofs of the draft and set them alight.

Fiji's NGO Coalition on Human Rights says that sends a message to the world that the regime has no intention of restoring democracy.

The group's chairperson, Shamima Ali, says it must worry countries, such as New Zealand, which have supported Fiji in the constitutional process.

"We've seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and we know it has taken a lot for countries like that to have come on board, and how encouraging they have been. So, this actually, can really upset the apple cart, and there is cause for worry."

Shamima Ali says many people in Fiji are worried by the latest action.