December 14, 2012

Statement by the Constitution Commission on the memorandum, Fiji’s Constitution: A Consultation Document (23 and 24 November 2012)


In November the Commission held a consultation meeting with leading local experts and public servants on some preliminary proposals for the constitution. The purpose of the meeting was to get feedback on these proposals as well as listen, more generally, to their views.

In advance of the meeting all participants were emailed a memorandum with the title, Fiji’s Constitution: A Consultation Document, and hard copies were provided at the meeting.

This document was prepared for the meeting, and it was clear to all the participants that these were preliminary proposals and that their task was not only to comment on the proposals but to make additional proposals. The consultation was very lively and extremely useful—and led the Commission to reconsider some proposals. This is good, standard practice in the drafting of a constitution.

While the document was meant for consultation and we did not expect participants to circulate it, it was not necessarily meant to be confidential (and was not so categorised). Therefore to describe its release to some blogs as a “leak” is not accurate. The Commission’s work has always been transparent and a wealth of information about our activities, including all of over 7000 submissions we received from Fijians on which we relied heavily, can be found on its website.

However, the Commission wishes to alert the people not to regard the preliminary proposals as final. The Commission is pleased to notice the interest shown by the people in the outcome of our process. The Commission is now completing its work, including the Draft Constitution and the Explanatory Report. Our final recommendations will be those which we hand over to His Excellency the President on 20 December.

Yash Ghai
Constitution Commission
12 December 2012

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