United Front for a Democratic Fiji
Meeting rejects regime’s draft constitution
A public meeting convened by the United Front for a Democratic Fiji (UFDF) in Suva yesterday (3 April 2013) to discuss the regime’s draft constitution was attended by about 300 people representing a good cross section of the Fiji community.
The meeting condemned the rejection by the regime of the People’s 2012 constitution drafted by the Ghai Commission and the substitution thereof by its own draft which constitutional experts have labeled regressive and dangerous, and which fails to meet universally accepted principles of democracy, human rights, transparency and good governance.
The meeting condemned in the strongest terms the high degree of political control the regime’s draft constitution asserts over the judiciary thus completely undermining its independence and authority.
The meeting unanimously resolved to:
- reject the Bainimarama/Khaiyum 2013 draft constitution as an imposition on the people of Fiji by an unelected and unlawful regime in a dictatorial and arbitrary manner
- demand that the People’s 2012 Ghai Commission draft constitution be reinstated and submitted to a fully representative Constituent Assembly to be appointed by the President. Further, following consideration of the Ghai Commission draft by the Constituent Assembly, it be referred to the people of Fiji for approval through a national referendum supervised by the international community
- call for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to avail the people of Fiji a process through which to heal the injustices and ills of the past and move forward together
The meeting expressed serious concern at the manner in which the local media has completely succumbed to pressure from the regime, and appears to be operating as an extension of the Information Ministry.
This tantamounts to a derogation of its obligations to the people of Fiji, and a violation of its own Media Code of Ethics. As the Fourth Estate, the local media needs to assert its rights and play a more courageous, responsible and honest role in reporting on issues of national interest.
Ratu Jone Kubuabola
Mahendra P. Chaudhry