News and Comments Tuesday 26 February 2103
CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY SOME: Qs and As. Permanent Secretary to the PM's Office, Colonel Pio Tikoduadua says the announcement of members of the Constituent Assembly is probably being held up until the political party registration issue is resolved. He expects the number of members to be about 40. The Assembly will review the draft constitution which is being re-drafted by Lawyers at the Solicitor General’s Office, and also study the Ghai draft complied by the Constitution Commission led by Professor Yash Ghai.
UNIONS WANT IN. Trades Union Council (FTUC) is hoping to be part of the Constituent Assembly. Speaking to FijiLive FTUC general secretary Felix Anthony said they have noted that civil societies will be invited to be part of the assembly and they hope to be also one of those that will be invited. Anthony also told FijiLive their preparations to start a new political party are progressing well and they are hoping to lodge their application soon. The Decree on the Constituent Assembly requires it to be diverse, and where possible, be composed of members who represent registered political parties, faith based-organisations, trade unions, employers, the business community, Government, farmers and members of rural communities, the RFMF, national organisations, women, youth, people with disability, pensioners, other Fijian-registered civil society groups, and individuals, amongst others.The Assembly members, to be announced next month, will review and approve the draft constitution.
MORE AUSTRALIA AID FOR HEALTH AND EDUCATION. AusAID is expanding its development assistance in areas such as health and education in Fiji, and about $100 million has been allocated this financial year. AusAID is working with Government to find out the areas of need in the communities. AusAID will also work to increase the economic opportunities for people in disadvantaged communities, helping farmers find buyers for their produce, and helping women who have products to sell gain access to markets.
POLITICAL PARTIES DECREE VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS. A study by international lawyers has found the decree to be extreme compared to electoral provisions applied in democracies and in parts unprecedented in global practice. The International Senior Lawyers Project says banning civil society leaders, such as trade unionists, from party membership manifestly breaches Fiji's obligations under the ILO Convention. The New York-based group says in-depth research has failed to identify a single country that has such rules. It says the decree's provision allowing anybody access to a party's records is in breach of the right to privacy under the UN Human Rights regime. It describes Fiji as an outlier by international comparison in for example how it criminalises political finance offences. The report says the way parties are being made to wind up violates the international right to property. It concludes that should democratic rule be restored in Fiji, affected parties might claim compensation, restitution and damages. --- Radio New Zealand International
MUSLIM PHOBIA: COUP4.5 EVEN WORSE THAN MICHAEL FIELD. This comment by Deepak Chaudan on Facebook's Fiji Economic Forum:
Even Michael Field, for all his distaste of the Bainimarama government, has not stooped to such accusations. Field, a frequent visitor to India, says all Fiji's Muslims are liberal Muslims with no links to Sunni extremists. Yet the Coup4.5 editors, who seem quite untutored on Islam, have persisted, for the past two years, to claim Muslim influence in Fiji politics. They have claimed the 2006 Coup was Muslim-led; they have portrayed Bainimarama as a Khaiyum puppet, and repeatedly called attention to supposed Fiji Muslim links to Al Qaeda. This story, for which they have produced no evidence, is what they are trying to sell to U.S. Intelligence, and drill into to a gullible itaukei public.
Readers who choose the check out their latest story will find mention of supposedly mysterious comings and goings of people and money, a trip to Cuba, Fiji's membership of the Non-Aligned Movement, a UAE embassy in Suva, Fijian soldiers who speak Arabic, and more, much more, in a rambling overkill that will leave U.S.A. Immigration no less confused that the blog's more intelligent readers. But the main message is clear: Fiji's Muslims could be aiding terrorism.
Putting aside their other claims (I will not ask them to name names or amounts of money), I must ask them one question that can easily be proven or not proven: Where did they get their story about Aslam Khan? I know for a fact that he has not even been to the U.S. recently, and the last time he was there he denies he was frisked or detained. Someone made this up.
Coup4.5 continues to use deceitful tactics by creating, spinning and embellishing tidbits of information, pandering to the prejudices of the less educated and the more bigoted, warning i'taukei not to trust their Muslim and Indo-Fijian fellow citizens.
This supposedly Christian blog has thrown the 9th Commandment — Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour — out of the window.