Friday, January 11, 2013

Fiji to Amend Draft Constitution

We have not had an update on Fiji on this blog in quite some time -- we'll try to remedy that as the legal situation in Fiji remains one of great interest to lawyers and human rights supporters around the world. Here is an update from "Fijilive," courtesy of the East-West Center:
Fiji Government To Amend To Draft Constitution PM Bainimarama to ‘extract positive elements’ from draft UVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 10, 2013) – Fiji’s government was today officially tasked by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau to amend the country’s Draft Constitution prepared by an independent Commission headed by Professor Yash Ghai. While making the announcement in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Ratu Epeli said they must consider the key observations of the draft. He said many of the draft’s provisions put Fiji “in the past,” saying Ghai and the commissioners “succumbed” to views of those who sought to maintain divisions in society. Ratu Epeli continued, saying the “Ghai Draft” appeared to negotiate between different political interests “as an appeasement.” He said the draft neglected “true democratic representation” by creating an unnecessarily-large body of unelected people to decide on key issues for Fiji. The president also said the draft would undo many positive changes brought about by the current government. Ratu Epeli added the draft called for bureaucratic, burdensome institutions that would create inefficiency. The president did laud some of the draft’s content, including fundamental rights, good governance, accountability, and judiciary independence, adding much should be used for specific laws as opposed to the constitution itself. The new draft will reportedly be available for deliberation by the end of January 2013.

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