FIJI ACCEPTS UN NEEDS ASSESSMENT MISSION

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CCF welcomes timely international contribution

By Serelisoni Moceica

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 15, 2012) – The decision by government to accept the Needs Assessment Mission team from the United Nations (UN) has been hailed as "timely" by the Citizens Constitutional Forum Ltd.

In a statement, the forum said government should use the mission to undertake further steps to ensure transparency and full participation in the development of a constitution.

"In efforts to ensure the processes from here on towards elections in 2014 are participatory, and there is acceptance of the envisaged changes, it is vital that there is independent scrutiny of the mechanisms and methodology of the constitutional consultation process," said forum CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki. He said Fiji should welcome the contribution of the UN because the world body recognized the need for assistance ahead of parliamentary elections in 2014.

[PIR editor’s note: Constitutional consultation in Fiji, according to interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama, is scheduled to begin in the next two weeks, which will move towards his "roadmap to democracy."]

Mr. Yabaki expressed hope that the UN visit would prompt the international community to revisit their current stance against the country and engage in areas where assistance could be rendered.

He also urged the government to consider allowing an independent observer to monitor the constitutional development process. Mr. Yabaki said the appointment of an independent constitution commission would oversee the constitution drafting and making processes.

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