CCF’s Response to the Constitutional Announcement
The announcement made by PM Voreqe Bainimarama this morning (March 9th, 2012) on the process and timeline for formulating a new constitution for Fiji is a step in the right direction.
The adoption of the fundamental guiding principles which have been taken on board from the handbook “Constitution: Making and Reform; Options for the Processes”, launched by CCF and Interpeace in January this year, provides a way forward for developing a truly participatory process.
CCF maintains that the principles of good governance such as an independent & participatory approach be applied throughout the process, and in the identification and development of key entities such as the Constitution Commission and Constituent Assembly.
In welcoming the appointment of Prof Yash Ghai as chair of the Constitution Commission, CCF expects the remaining appointees to be persons who will ensure its independence and integrity.
While the announcement emphasises the role of citizens, CCF notes, that given the timeframe & the level of Civic Education needed, the commitment of resources needs to be comprehensive. The contribution & role of CSO’s & other stakeholders will be crucial in ensuring that people are made aware of how, when & where they must participate in this process.
Additionally, it is imperative that a conducive environment is created which encourages Freedom of Speech & welcomes Dialogue. The CCF reiterates that all laws that restrict free & open discussion be lifted during the process so genuine participation may occur.
Serious consideration must also be given to other important issues, such as the role of the Military in the constitutional development process.
We urge all Fijians to start talking and discussing in their homes, villages, religious and social groups on how to get involved, what they want to see in the constitution and openly discuss and debate contentious issues which will arise in the months ahead.
Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “Everyone has the Right to participate in government and free elections” and it is now time for us Fijians to openly exercise this right for a common cause, taking Fiji towards a sustainable constitutional democracy.
For further information please contact the communications team at CCF on
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