The Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) is advising Fiji citizens that in spite of the purported abrogation of the 1997 Constitution, other laws still exist.
“The current interim regime is not recognising the existence of the 1997 Constitution," says CCF chief executive, the Rev Akuila Yabaki. "According to Chapter 15 of the 1997 Constitution, it can only be varied or replaced through the procedures outlined in that Chapter.”
“Last week’s Court of Appeal ruling stated that until any promulgations or decrees are tested in a court of law, people should consider them lawful and valid.
"CCF therefore advises citizens to respect any promulgations or decrees until they are declared invalid by a court."
Rev Yabaki says the human rights of citizens continue to exist because they are guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was proclaimed in 1948.
“In order for human rights to be adequately protected, there must be a fully functioning, independent judiciary in place,” he says.
CCF says the following human rights may not be derogated, even in a state of emergency:
- Right to Life
- Freedom from Cruel or Degrading Treatment
- Freedom from Unreasonable Searches or Seizure
- Rights of Arrested, Detained or Charged People
- Right to a Fair Trial and Access to Courts or Tribunals
- Freedom of Religion and Belief
- Right to Vote by Secret Ballot
- Right to Equality Before the Law and not to be Discriminated Against
- Right to an Education
- Protection Against Compulsory Acquisition of Property.