FIJI EXTENDS DEADLINE ON RECONCILIATION BILL

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, June 16) - The Fiji public has been given more time to express its views on the controversial Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill.

This is after the Government today announced that the public consultation would be extended to July 31. It was to have ended this month.

Their decision comes amid widespread public outcry locally and abroad that the public had not been given enough time to voice its thoughts on the Bill.

"It's a start that the Government is trying to practice some good governance by making amends for its lack of public consultation on this Bill," said Concerned Mothers Group spokeswoman Suliana Siwatibau.

She said while the extension was still not enough it would nonetheless allow the public more time to understand the full implications of the Bill and have its say.

Siwatibau said widespread opposition to the Bill was not only because of its contents but also because of government's lack of transparency in the development of the Bill.

"Government should follow the same process as it did with the Family Law Bill with proper public consultations last year," she added.

June 17, 2005

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