16 Jan 2013

Commonwealth head regrets Fiji's move to reject draft constitution

11:56 am on 16 January 2013

The Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has expressed regret about the Fiji interim government's decision to reject the draft constitution.

The regime dumped the draft constitution produced by Professor Yash Ghai's Constitution Commission last week and gave its legal team until the end of the month to produce a new one.

Kamalesh Sharma says to be legitimate and enduring for future generations, the constitution of Fiji needs to be a product of reflection and input by the people for the people of Fiji.

He says the decision by the interim government to set aside the text painstakingly prepared by the Commission through widespread public consultation is regrettable.

Mr Sharma says the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, at its last meeting in last September, welcomed the broad-based national dialogue on Fiji's future.

He added the inclusive national constitutional consultation process that has been completed needs to be reflected fully in the new constitution.

The Secretary-General says the Commonwealth remains committed to the restoration of civilian and constitutional democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Fiji.

He says the Commonwealth remains open and willing to support the Government of Fiji towards these ends.