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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i


Fiji Constitutional Body Reports 7,000 Submissions Received
Commission team analyzing 18 components in testimonies

By Nanise Loanakadavu

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 13, 2012) – About 7,000 oral and written submissions have been received by Fiji’s Constitution Commission, according to Commission chairman Professor Yash Ghai yesterday.

He said they had set up a research team and process to analyze the submissions along the matrix of about 18 major components.

"And at a press of a button, we are able to pull out results on what people said about coups, what people said about the system of government, about land or languages and a series of topics so we are now very well acquainted with what the people told us," he said.

Prof. Ghai said contemporary constitutions normally involved very significant participation of the people.

"The day when experts sat down with a few politicians of the monarch, and within a week or a fortnight, made a constitution, are long gone and constitution-making, today, is very much the prerogative, perhaps a significant extent, a responsibility of the people," he said.

"A process like this is also very educative, it's a lesson in democracy, knowledge of the state, how the state institutions work, inter-relate rights of the people, the significance of citizenship."

Prof. Ghai said it was good training for a good constitution.

He said this was a great source of legitimacy for the constitution that if one could establish the links between the outcome and the views that people had given.

"It is a hope and indeed an expectation that when the people of Fiji read our constitution, they will see something of themselves in that constitution," he said.

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.
Copyright 2012 Fiji Times Online. All Rights Reserved


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