Aug 2012

Fiji takes first steps towards return of constitutional democracy: Conciliation Resources plays vital role

Read the January 2013 news update:
Constitutional development process enters final stages


Five and a half years on from the coup d'état which brought Commodore ‘Frank’ Bainimarama to power and three years on from the abrogation of the country’s constitution, the government of Fiji has launched the process that will return Fiji to an elected constitutional democracy in 2014.

Conciliation Resources congratulates the government for making this move – including the establishment of a Constitution Commission and a Constituent Assembly – and commends the groundwork that was done by civil society organisations to make this possible. We also commend the five commissioners who have agreed to serve, including the two well-known and well-respected constitutional experts Professor Yash Pal Ghai from Kenya and Christina Murray of South Africa.

At the request of their Chair, Conciliation Resources has agreed to work with Fiji’s Constitution Commission, helping them to establish their Secretariat and organise the process of public consultations.

Fiji's citizens offer their vision of the island nation’s future

An ambitious process of community education – led by civil society groups, including our partners the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum – has been launched, and this is being followed by public hearings and town hall meetings throughout the islands where citizens are making their submissions to the Commission. These will continue on until early October.

We want to give every Fijian the opportunity to meet us, to give us their views about the process and their own recommendations.

Yash Ghai, Chairman of the Constitution Commission

Based on the views of the people, and their conclusions on the “lessons from the past” and best international practice, the Commission has been given the responsibility to draft a new Constitution by the end of the calendar year. This will be submitted to a Constituent Assembly early in the new year for further discussion and deliberation.

Conciliation Resources is privileged to be part of this dynamic process promoting public participation in the defining the country’s new constitution. Working together Fiji’s people can bring an end to the recurring cycle of coups and instability, and create a framework for a more peaceful and prosperous future.

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