The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) is thankful to the initiative taken by the Government in amending some existing draconian Decrees such as the Public Order Amendment Decree which have been enacted by the Parliament. This follows repeated public outcry of civil society organizations, political parties, and concerned groups for more than two years after the 2014 Elections.
We are thankful to the joint pressures from all corners of our society including the numerous public submissions to the Parliament Standing Committees which now has been tabled in the Public Order Amendment Bill of 2017. Once again, the political will has motivated the government to listen to the concern and voices of the public.
CCF is one of the organizations greatly affected by the Public Order Amendment Decree since 2006 due to its restrictive requirements and different interpretations by some ranks within the Police in several Divisions.
With the amendment Act in place, now we have a robust democratic space that will allow citizens to discuss freely without fear issues of national interests that are pertinent to their own development by exercising their rights to freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and political rights. However the challenge will depend on how it is going to be implemented and interpreted in the coming months to avoid further restrictions to our freedom curtailed even after the democratic election in 2014.
The CCF is also urging the Fiji Police Force to ensure officers on the ground are made aware of this new amendment so to ensure a uniform interpretation by officers on the ground.