FTUC PRESS RELEASE : 20.3.15
AG Misleads UN Yet Again
During the last Hearing of the United Nations Human Rights Council, one recommendation was that Fiji establishes a Constitutional Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the 2013 Constitution and carry out a national consultation to ensure that the Constitution is reflective of the will of the people. The Attorney General responded and advised the Council that the Constitution that came into force on 7th September 2013 “is the expression of the will of the people” and therefore any amendment of the Constitution would only be conducted through the process stipulated under the Constitution whereby Parliamentary approval must be sought for a referendum.
The FTUC disputes this assertion as thoroughly misleading and borders on a lie. The expression of the will of the people was captured by the Yash Ghai draft after more than 7000 submissions by people and organizations from around the country. This Government thrashed that draft constitution and imposed the current Constitution on the people of Fiji. This fact is on record and no amount of government propaganda will change this. The FTUC calls on Government to demonstrate sincerity and honesty and not mislead the international community as this only brings disrepute to Fiji. This has become common knowledge and a serious problem which is also recognized at the ILO.
The provision to change the Constitution was the brainchild of the very people who run Government now. The AG is in a position to ensure that Parliament approves a referendum but will not do so. Instead he uses the excuse that the
Constitution will not allow a referendum. He conveniently forgot to tell the UN that it was his regime that imposed such harsh conditions that it is almost impossible to change the Constitution without his concurrence. All for the sake of protecting those responsible for the coups and the atrocities that followed over many years and many of it criminal in nature. These atrocities include denial of basic human rights guaranteed under the UN Charter.
It is time that this Government is put under scrutiny whenever they make any pronouncements abroad. The FTUC also calls upon the media to be vigilant and seriously carry out its responsibility to ensure accountability and take to task anyone or Government and not just critics of Government. Sadly we do not see that today and partly so because we continue to live in a dictatorship and restrictions remain, despite elections and so called democracy.
The FTUC calls upon the AG and his Government to call a referendum on the Constitution. If the AG truly believes that the Constitution is an “expression of the will of the people”, he should have no hesitation in conducting a referendum.
Similarly, the AG has advised the UN that Government MOU on the future of labour relations reflects the intentions of the social partners. He again conveniently forgot to tell the UN that the social partners disagree and its MOU does not address the real issues in regards to the denial of workers’ rights and the continued effect of the decrees he imposed that violate International Conventions.
Felix Anthony National Secretary FTUC