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Government releases Fiji’s new constitution

The Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, presenting the newest constitution in Suva.

The Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, presenting the newest constitution in Suva.

The Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, presented Fiji’s newest constitution at government buildings in Suva this morning.

The country’s fourth constitution is expected to come into effect from September 6.

Kenyan constitution expert Professor Yash Ghai initially drafted the constitution after various public consultations and submissions.

Professor Ghai, who was the chairman of Fiji’s constitution, presented the draft constitution late last year to President Epeli Nailatikau.

Khaiyum revealed today that the new constitution has some amendments and inclusions to the initial Ghai constitution, which was drawn up following another round of consultations by government.

Speaking at a press conference, Khaiyum said that the constitution is elaborate and specific.

He said that in the past, the application of law was seen as political and brought a “sense of distrust” in the people, therefore “seeing it written” would be a confirmation.

“We sense that people want to see everything in the cold face,” he said.

Khaiyum said that it is the first time that culture is included in the constitution.

 

Constitution of the Republic of Fiji

PREAMBLE
We the People of Fiji

RECOGNISING the indigenous people or the iTaukei, their ownership of iTaukei lands, their unique culture, customs, traditions and language;

RECOGNISING the indigenous people or the Rotuman from the island of Rotuma, their ownership of Rotuman lands, their unique culture, customs, traditions and language;

RECOGNISING the descendants of the indentured labourers from British India and the Pacific Islands their culture, customs, traditions and language and;

RECOGNISING the descendants of the immigrants and settlers to Fiji, their culture, customs, traditions and language;

DECLARE that we are all Fijians united by common and equal citizenry;

RECOGNISE the Constitution as the supreme law of our country that provides the framework for the conduct of Government and all Fijians;

COMMIT ourselves to the recognition and protection of human rights, and respect for human dignity;

DECLARE our commitment to justice, national sovereignty and security, social and economic wellbeing and safeguarding our environment;

HEREBY ESTLABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION FOR THE REPUBLIC OF FIJI.

The constitution will be open for minor amendments until December 31.

Khaiyum will be presenting to the non-government organisations, the diplomatic missions in Fiji, and the political parties through the day.

More reports are to follow.

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