Fears military will inhibit Fiji constitution talks
Fiji’s interim government is being asked to ensure the military does not interfere with public consultations during the drafting of a constitution.
There have also been requests to lift emergency decrees for fear they will inhibit people from speaking freely.
Fiji’s Citizens’ Constitutional Forum is calling on the government to stop any mlitary interference.
Public meetings are under way to educate people about the constitution and encourage them to participate in the drafting.
A period of consultations is expected to be held in coming weeks before a draft of the new constitution is submitted to a Constituent Assembly next January.
The Reverend Akuila Yabaki, from the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum, says the interim government needs to maintain independence from the drafting process.
He told Radio Australia: “All those decrees which restrict people’s participation have got to be gotten rid of.
“That assurance was made to the ministerial action group of the Pacific Island Forum just a week ago and we need to see that that action follows words.”
Meanwhile, Fiji’s interim Attorney-General says no changes will be made to decrees before public consultations on the new constitution begin.
There have been calls for the Public Order Amendment Decree, among others, to be removed due to fears they will inhibit free participation.
But Aiyad Sayed Khaium told Radio New Zealand critics are already broadcasting their opinions on TV and radio.
He says the Public Order Amendment Decree does not restrict debate and free speech.