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FWCC Condemns Regime’s Announcement

PRESS RELEASE:

FWCC Condemns Regime’s Announcement

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) condemns yesterday’s announcement by the interim regime that the Draft Constitution prepared by the Constitution Commission would now be amended by a government legal team before being presented to the Constituent Assembly for deliberations.

“This move by the interim regime shows a total disregard for the views and opinions of the people of Fiji,” said Shamima Ali, Coordinator of FWCC. “The Constitution Commission had prepared its draft after extensive consultation with all sectors of Fijian society. This unilateral decision to discard significant portions of the Draft Constitution shows contempt not only for the Commission and the processes that the interim regime had itself decreed, but also shows total contempt for the views of the people of this country.”

The FWCC rejected the interim regime’s assertion that the Commission had succumbed to the whims of the few who were interested in perpetuating divisions within Fiji. Ali said that the Draft Constitution was a reflection of what the people of Fiji wanted and that people had participated in the constitution review process in the hope that the new Constitution would truly reflect their concerns and would return Fiji to democracy. “These hopes have now been shattered,” said Ali.

“Who now determines what constitutes a positive Constitution and how good governance will be addressed?” queried Ali. The Constitution Commission was headed by Professor Yash Ghai, an internationally respected constitutional lawyer. “Are we to believe that an unnamed government legal team without the benefit of the 7,000 plus submissions that the Commission received is somehow better able and qualified to draft a Constitution for Fiji?”

“All along, the regime has claimed that the previous Fiji constitutions were prepared by an unrepresentative minority and imposed on the people. It promised that this one will be different. Now, a small group of people in the government will make their own changes to the draft Constitution,” Ali said. “Then the head of the interim regime’s hand-picked Constituent Assembly will approve it. The regime is doing exactly what it criticised others for.”

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre calls upon the interim regime to honour its commitment to the people of Fiji and to submit the Draft Constitution prepared by the Constitution Commission to an impartially selected and truly representative Constituent Assembly for deliberation. To do otherwise would be another betrayal of the people of Fiji.

ENDS

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