National Council of Women
Soqosoqo Vakamarama i Taukei
Fiji Women's Rights Movement
(Co-convenors of the Fiji Women's Forum)
December 14th, 2012
Publicize all EOIs to the CA, calls the Fiji Women’s Forum
The Fiji Women’s Forum (FWF) says the call for Expressions Of Interest (EOIs) from the public for the Constituent Assembly (CA) by the state is a positive step to enhancing the participation of Fiji citizens in the democratization process.
Responding to the advertisement published in the Fiji Sun newspaper on December 11th, 2012, femLINKPACIFIC’S Executive Director Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, a co-convenor of the Fiji Women’s Forum, said points made in the advertisement provide clarity on the expected roles of the CA members and also provides an avenue for the next stage of Fiji’s democratization process to involve a wide cross section of the community and if all groups submit names of individuals who fit the criteria and are accepted by the State as being significant representatives of a given community, then this would give legitimacy to the CA.
The FWF is however, concerned that while the first ten points of the EOI is in line with international standards, the final point stating that “all EOIs will be treated with confidence,” by the State, is worrying:
“The FWF believes that the public should be made aware of all names that are under consideration for the CA. This transparency will also ensure accountability to the public.”
The FWF has unanimously endorsed 13 names for the CA. These names will be submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office next week.
Bhagwan Rolls reiterates that the FWF will have no problem publishing the names of their candidates and calls on the other groups interested in being part of the CA to do the same.
She reiterated that at a public lecture held last week, eminent constitutional expert, Professor Cheryl Saunders highlighted that “in the early 21st century, anybody claiming to act in the name of the people in adopting a Constitution must reflect the people as a whole”.
The FWF reiterates that the principle of inclusion requires the involvement of women and men, ideally in the broadly equal proportions in which they are represented in society; of young as well as older people; of different ethnicities, where these are present in the state; of marginalized as well as more prominent social groups.