Fiji Constitution Commission strongly critical of new government decrees
Posted at 05:56 on 19 July, 2012 UTC
Fiji’s Constitutional Commission says two new decrees issued by the interim Fiji regime threaten to undermine the development of the new constitution.
It says this process requires the full participation of the people.
Don Wiseman reports:
“In a statement it says the Constitutional Commission and Constituent Assembly Decrees are an important step in adding certainty to the process, but it also says they ignore the essential principles of democracy. The Commission says the Constituent Assembly Decree gives the interim Prime Minister full control over the composition of the Assembly which will put together the new constitution. It says this is undemocratic and undermines the Assembly’s independence. The Decrees require immunity for those involved in the 2006 and earlier coups to be entrenched in the new constitution – a move the Commission says is most unusual and undesirable. It says the people of Fiji need to first be consulted on this matter with submissions to the Commission and debate on it in the Assembly. And the Commission says it remains concerned that there is not an atmosphere in Fiji that is conducive to open debate. It says controls on the media and the wide reaching powers of the security forces are particularly worrying, as is the lack of access to the courts.”
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Constitution Comission raises concern on two decrees
Report by: Maca Lutunauga
The Constitution Commission believes that the promulgation of the two decrees relating to the drafting of the new constitution will mean that the essential principles of democracy are ignored and the independence of the Assembly negated.
Maca Lutunauga reports.
“Commission chair Yash Ghai made the comment at a press conference today.”
“Yash Ghai says in light of the fact that members of the present government may wish to compete in the coming elections, it is important that they should not control the process that will set out the rules for elections.”
“He says this will undermine the credibility of elections.”
“On the immunity decree announced yesterday, Yash Ghai says it is most unusual and they believe it is undesirable.”
“The Commission is concerned that the people of Fiji have not been consulted in any way.”
“They believe that if immunity is part of the process, it could be discussed through submissions to the Commission and debated in the Constituent Assembly.”
“Yash Ghai adds a solution could be reached that citizens believe would promote the transition to democracy and contribute to a sustained democracy as envisaged in the two Decrees.”
“Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is expected to respond to this statement soon.”