Fiji Youth for Democracy delivers petition on constitution | Pacific Beat

Fiji Youth for Democracy delivers petition on constitution

Fiji Youth for Democracy delivers petition on constitution

Updated 30 April 2013, 16:30 AEST

Fiji's Youth for Democracy group has delivered a petition to the officer of the military backed Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, demanding his government adopt the constitution written by Professor Yash Ghai.

Professor Ghai and his constitutional commission drafted a constitution, which was scrapped by the interim government, which has now released its own draft for public consultation.

Fiji Youth for Democracy is the latest Fijian civil society group to call for that new draft to be rejected, and as spokesperson Miki Wali told Pacific Correspondent Campbell Cooney, they hand delivered their petition to the head of government today.

Presenter:  Campbell Cooney

Speaker: Miki Wali, Fiji Youth for Democracy movement.

WALI: We managed to get as many young people as we can but unfortunately due to the weather we were able to get about 12 to 15 young people, so we marched to the PM's office. Unfortunately we were unable to be at the PM's office, so we presented it at the ground level, so we presented it to the security people.
COONEY: They made the commitment that it would be delivered to the Prime Minister?
WALI: They made the commitment that they were definitely going to submit it, because we managed to print out a tag just to make sure that it's been received and we've noted it like a receipt.
COONEY: How many signatures did you end up with?
WALI: We managed to get about 165 signatures, and we're planning on getting other signatures as we go .
COONEY: It doesn't seem like a lot of signatures there, are you happy with that or do you feel that there's a problem in getting to some of the people?
WALI: Well actually as a small group we're really happy that we got 165 signatures and for such a small group itself that's a good start. And we're really trying baby steps as well. 
COONEY: What's the main concern of the Fiji Youth for Democracy group in relation to the draft constitution as it stands compared to the previous Yash Gai draft?
WALI: Ok so basically our objective as the Fiji Youth for Democracy is really that the youth in Fiji have limited access to balanced information on Fiji's current political development, and that they do not have a safe place to voice their concerns and opinions. So it is the aim of this aspiring group, the Fiji Youth for Democracy, to generate debates and more importantly to share critical information on the process as well, and to form the draft constitution to allow for more informed participatory and active. And the Fiji Youth for Democracy maintains that for a genuine democratic change to take place for a secure Fiji, that is the 2012 People's Draft, which must be reinstated for public debate and deliberation.
COONEY: The interim government there has said that they're holding public consultations, they're allowing public input and there's a series of meetings that have been held. Has your group taken part in those, and if that's their defence what do you think of it?
WALI: We haven't really, most of the members of the group hasn't really part of the peace consultation because there's just not a space to put your point. But a few members that have participated that have also attended the consultation, it wasn't really, the thoughts around it wasn't really a good response in terms of the Attorney General and his stand and support for the current constitutional draft the government wants to use. So in response he's always responding to people to just make their submissions. So even though at that particular point  in time when we hold the people who drafted this constitution accountable, the comment or the response that comes back is simple, make a submission, that's all it can be.

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