FIJI: FWRM Indicates Interest in Constitution Consultation

Saturday, January 28, 2012
The Fiji Times
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 

The Fiji Women's Rights Movement has indicated its wish to participate in the consultation stages of the constitutional and electoral processes.

In a statement, movement executive director Virisila Buadromo said: "FWRM wishes to participate in legitimate constitutional and electoral processes.

"Legitimacy can only be achieved through the state's protection of our basic human rights and our right as human beings to assert these rights," Ms Buadromo said.

"As long as there is limitation to these rights, the likelihood of meaningful public consultation is slim."

Ms Buadromo said police had briefed the movement and other NGOs on events and meetings that do not require a permit and the permit application process.

"The movement hopes this will be implemented without prejudice and that the police ensure the protection of freedom of expression and opinion, and association for everyone especially for girls and women," she said.

Ms Buadromo said on previous occasions, the movement along with other NGOs had been told they would not require a permit for their meetings only for their meetings to be shut down later.

"It has been quite challenging for us for the last three years in facilitating dialogue with the women in the communities due to these restrictions and the fear of intimidation," she said.

She said the decree should promote wider protection and promotion of human rights given that freedom of expression and opinion and association played a critical role in democracy and public participation in political life.

The government has begun stepping up its dialogue programs with NGOs and the public for the electoral and constitutional processes ahead of elections in 2014.