Tuesday October 16, 2012
Young women denied right to make oral submission
The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement is extremely disappointed that a young women’s leadership group was not given space by the Fiji Constitution Commission to make an oral submission.
FWRM’s Emerging Leaders’ Forum Alumni (ELFA) had tried making an appointment with the Commission a week prior to their intended day of presentation on Saturday October 13, 2012. However, they were told that all the presentation slots were booked up for the 12th and 13th. Instead, the group made arrangements to share space with the Youth Assembly of Fiji Islands and Drodrolagi Movement, who had been given thirty minutes.
On Saturday, YAFI and Drodrolagi Movement’s presentations took 30 minutes, and the Commissioners did not permit ELFA to present their submission.
FWRM’s Executive Director Virisila Buadromo finds this unacceptable.
Our monitoring of the constitution submission process for the last month has shown that there have been many individuals and groups who have spoken beyond the time that had been allocated to them. Why were the young women not given a similar chance?” she said.
FWRM is concerned that the Commission would not make room for the young women’s representatives, particularly since the Commission has reported receiving fewer submissions from women and young people.
FWRM’s observations of 372 submissions around Fiji showed that only 38 percent of the submissions were by women. Of the women that made submissions, only 34 percent were young women.
“The Commission needs to pay special attention to marginalised groups who are trying to be heard,” she added.
“Women’s participation, especially that of young women, has always been limited and less visible due to discrimination. It is important that the Commission actively support the public hearing of these marginalised voices. While ELFA did put in a written submission, making one orally would have enhanced the visibility of young women in these important political processes.”