2 Jan 2013

Fiji political leaders urge release of draft constitution

11:05 am on 2 January 2013

Three Fiji political leaders have issued a joint statement to endorse the draft constitution, which they say Yash Ghai's Constitution Commission produced under extremely difficult circumstances.

The three are the SDL's Ratu Jone Kubuabola, Mahendra Chaudhry of the Fiji Labour Party and the leader of the United People's Party, Mick Beddoes.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The three say they endorse the draft and urge the regime to immediately release it for public discussion and debate as it is a people's document. They say the people of Fiji have every right to know what is in the draft before it goes to the Constituent Assembly for debate. In their view, the draft provides a sound basis for the governance of the nation based on the universal principles of respect for and the protection and promotion of human rights. They apologise to Professor Ghai for the personal abuse and degrading treatment he was subjected to over the confiscation of 600 printed copies of the draft constitution and the burning of various copies in front of him. The leaders denounce such behaviour by the security forces as typical of the misguided few who cling to power without the legitimate consent or mandate of the people. Such acts, they say, do not reflect the normal behaviour of the good people of Fiji."