12 Nov 2012

Fiji human rights watchdog says constitution changes oppressive

12:45 pm on 12 November 2012

A human rights watchdog in Fiji says the interim government's latest decree on the constitutional process is undermining, draconian and oppressive.

The NGO Coalition on Human Rights says it is concerned at the extreme measures the regime is taking to pressure the constitutional process.

The group's spokesperson Shamima Ali says decree number 64 of 2012 contradicts regime leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama's original plan for the process to be free, transparent and for the people.

The decree includes changes to the constitution writing process such as removing further public debate on the draft document before it goes to the regime appointed Constituent Assembly for discussion.

Ms Ali asks why the interim administration has gone to such lengths to silence the people on issues that should be debated and determined by a public forum.

The interim government says there will be ample scope for public discussion once the Constituent Assembly starts its deliberations.