19 Jul 2012

Fiji Constitution Commission strongly critical of new government decrees

7:30 pm on 19 July 2012

Fiji's Constitutional Commission says two new decrees issued by the interim Fiji regime threaten to undermine the development of the new constitution.

It says the consultation process requires the full participation of the people.

Don Wiseman reports:

"In a statement it says the Constitutional Commission and Constituent Assembly Decrees are an important step in adding certainty to the process, but it also says they ignore the essential principles of democracy. The Commission says the Constituent Assembly Decree gives the interim Prime Minister full control over the composition of the Assembly which will put together the new constitution. It says this is undemocratic and undermines the Assembly's independence. The Decrees require immunity for those involved in the 2006 and earlier coups to be entrenched in the new constitution - a move the Commission says is most unusual and undesirable. It says the people of Fiji need to first be consulted on this matter with submissions to the Commission and debate on it in the Assembly. And the Commission says it remains concerned that there is not an atmosphere in Fiji that is conducive to open debate. It says controls on the media and the wide reaching powers of the security forces are particularly worrying, as is the lack of access to the courts."