9 Aug 2012

Fiji NGOs spell out concerns with constitution process

7:12 pm on 9 August 2012

Several leading Fiji non government organisations have raised concerns about the legitimacy of the country's constitution making process.

FemLINKPACIFIC, the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre and the Fiji Women's Rights Movement also question the interim government's so-called non-negotiable principles, its demand for immunity and the continuing constraints on the media.

Don Wiseman reports:

"They say next year's Constituent Assembly should be made up of people who are truly representative of Fiji, not those hand-picked by the State. The groups say many of the non-negotiable principles are laudable but it is not for the State to dictate them. And they point out many key principles, such as freedom of expression and association, are missing. They say issues such as immunity have to be widely debated to encourage an atmosphere of justice, reconciliation and forgiveness. And the groups say it is common knowledge the media, though it is not directly censored, operates under pressure from the authorities. They say at the very least, there must be a strong assurance from Commodore Bainimarama guaranteeing freedom to the media, including the right to criticise his government."