NGOs And Civil Society Groups Reviewing Fiji Village Bylaws For Human Rights Concerns

Ensure bylaws not used to control segements of the population, many positive traditional law elements and values to support

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 06, 2017) – Non-government organisations and civil societies in Fiji have been meeting to discuss village bylaws which could infringe human rights.

The bylaws are being reviewed but the Director of Development Studies from the University of the South Pacific Vijay Naidu said the voices of women and youth have not been heard adequately.

In the past the bylaws have been used to crack down on what women could wear and on youth behaviour, including public flogging.

Professor Naidu said aspects of the bylaws don't sit comfortably within the Bill of Rights or the Constitution.

However he said there are some positives from traditional laws.

"Reciprocity, sharing, caring, respect for the elderly, respect for those in authority, avoiding conflict where possible, social harmony."

"These things are all very good. Where we do have a problem is when they are used for controlling particular segments of the population and privileging some others," he said.

Vijay Naidu said it could take up to four months of consultations and work to finish with a good balance between modern and traditional.

Radio New Zealand International
Copyright © 2017 RNZI. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment