News and Comments Thursday 8 February 2012. International Women's Day
ROBBING PEOPLE OF THEIR INDIVIDUALITY AND HUMAN WORTH. "When we stereotype people, male or female, and of whatever ethnicity, when we make assumptions about them on the basis of their gender, their sexuality or their race or religion, we rob them of their individuality, and their worth as human beings."-- Nazhat Shameen
AUSTRALIA REVERSES A STEP BACKWARDS. At about the same time as the Australian parliamentary opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop was calling for a new direction on Fiji and open dialogue with the island nation,the new foreign minister Bob Carr had already started to reverse six years of hard-line Labor policy, most of it led by Kevin Rudd, against the Fiji government. Carr is travelling to NZ today to discuss the 2009 exclusion of Fiji from the Pacific Forum and other Pacific matters with NZ PM John Key. Changes that may be considered include bars on entry and transit for government people and their families and the lifting of a blanket ban on military cooperation and supplies.
In Fiji,foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola responded with, "With regard to media statements about Australia reconsidering its relations with Fiji, we have always been open to dialogue with Australia, but given the history of Australian policy towards Fiji, we are in a wait and see position. Fiji remains committed to its path of creating a new constitution and holding democratic elections."
See also Graham Davis's "Rollback on Fiji Begins" in Grubsheet.
A TOP CHINESE ENVOY was in the country yesterday.
PROSECUTION DOES NOT MEAN INDEPENDENT. I don't know where FijiToday got this idea from but it's quite wrong on the role of a public prosecutor. "Fiji’s Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde is meant to be an independent Judicial official but releases a 'Government Statement'. If he is working for the government then he must agree with Mr Dodds that the Fiji Judiciary is biased."
PM to announce details of consultations tomorrow Friday
QARASE WANTS IN. Qarese wants to be included in the constitutional dialogue and is concerned that "up to this stage even the Soqosoqo Ni Lewenivanua has not been notified. I find this hardly surprising given that the SDL was a major cause of Fiji's problems.
AND SO DOES KRISHNA DATT. Former labour politician, Krishna Datt also wishes to participate. He says that while "a review is necessary, the 1997 constitution was not the stumbling block for the previous government and that is why it was only abrogated in 2009." Curiously, he claimed "the 1997 constitution was rated as the best constitution in the world. " I don't know who made this extravagant claim. He's right in saying the new constitution should build on the old constitution, but I think he underestimates the changes and introductions needed.
THE FIRST OF A THREE-PART REVIEW OF THE CCF REPORT "SCRATCHING THE SURFACE" WILL BE PUBLISHED TOMORROW.