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Fiji Women’s Forum disappointed with State constitution

Tuesday, 26 March 2013, 11:11 am Press Release: Fiji Women’s Forum

March 26, 2013

FWF disappointed with State constitution process

The Fiji Women’s Forum (FWF) notes the announcement by the State that there will be no Constituent Assembly (CA) – a critical component in the constitution-making process. The CA is intended to allow open debate on constitutional content.

On Thursday March 21, 2013, along with this decision, the State also released their draft constitution; and gave the public nine working days within which they can submit comments on the State draft. It is unclear how submissions will be incorporated, given the very short time-frame.

The FWF had nominated 13 women leaders to be part of the CA. The FWF had also worked with women from all the divisions in Fiji to make submissions to the Constitution Commission, particularly in relation to women’s human rights and women’s political participation.

Much of this was reflected in the 2012 People’s Draft Constitution, but is missing from the State draft.

“Supporting the submission process took a lot of time, effort and resources; and while the Fiji Women’s Forum had concerns regarding the legitimacy of the overall process, it still mobilised women to take part because women’s participation is essential to human rights centred development, and to full and effective democratization,”said Fiji Women’s Forum spokesperson Sharon Bhagwan Rolls.

“The invisibility of women in the State draft is in direct contravention to CEDAW* which Fiji ratified in 1995. Since last year the Fiji Women’s Forum has been mobilising women from around the country to take part in the democratisation process and as a result of this, over 650 individual and group submissions were made by women to the Constitutional Commission,” she said.

The FWF also believes that nine working days is too short a time for the people of Fiji to adequately read, understand and raise their concerns about aspects of the State draft constitution and to participate effectively and substantively. Through experience, FWF knows that it will take weeks for many of the people, especially those in the rural and remote communities to read and understand the provisions in the draft and for many, translations and explanations will be required.”

*CEDAW: Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

The FWF is a national consultation to discuss the participation of women in national democratic processes, organized by femLINKPACIFIC, the National Council of Women, the Soqosoqo Vakamarama and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement.


4 thoughts on “Fiji Women’s Forum disappointed with State constitution

  1. More fool you ladies.

    Isn’t it naive to think the illegal and treasonous regime would welcome CEDAW over basic human rights? The torture video and the silence on the brushed-under-the-ibe investigations speaks volumes.

    Mrs Benedito, Mrs Malasebe, Mrs Rabaka and Mrs Verebasaga are probably thinking CEDAW is the last thing that can restore their faith in Fiji’s humanity at this time.

  2. “The invisibility of women in the State draft”

    Do we not also see an invisibility of reference to ‘men’ in the state draft ?

    Why is it that women want and expect special preferential treatment when they have had equal rights for so long but have not bothered to take advantage of them.

    Many women have taken advantage of this equality and made something of themselves simply through sheer hard work in the same way as men have to. We have women in government, doctors, lawyers, business owners, shop workers, office workers, artists, singers, dentists, reporters and the list goes on.

    Stop bleating, you have equality already, just use it as we men have to.

  3. Some of these women were looking forward to a place in the CC so that they can also rip the system and make some money out of the CC.

    Vinaka PM for giving the constitution back to the people who will be able to present their views on the same.

    It’s a constitution for the people, which will have their input and would last a lifetime.

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