26 Mar 2013

Fiji women's group wants change to draft constitution

2:34 pm on 26 March 2013

The Fiji Women's Forum says the new draft constitution ignores the calls made by women during the consultation process.

The Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is defending removing provisions from the previous draft, including that political parties would be required to have a certain number of women candidates.

He has told local media that the constitution should promote equality in all forms.

The head of Femlink Pacific, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, says that's an easy thing to say.

"But if you look at the reality of the status of women in Fiji, the state must look at how they are going to improve the status of women. And they can include these rights, on the grounds of the need to support women's participation in political processes, in futhering the issue of democratisation."

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls says the invisibility of women in the draft is in direct contravention of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, which Fiji ratified in 1995.