#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Solid questions being asked about life after PER

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Solid questions being asked about life after PER

The illegal attorney general, Aiyaz Sayaz Khaiyum, says the Methodist Church will now be able to hold its AGM following the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations on Saturday. He also says the media will be able to produce  what he called 'balanced reports' without censors. Khaiyum added people will be allowed to meet in groups but those wanting to meet in public places will still need permits. His answers give some idea of how things will work after the PER is lifted on Saturday but a lot questions still need to be answered on how it will work in reality.   

FemLINKPACIFIC raises a valid concern - how much participation will Fiji citizens actually have in the upcoming consultation process?

Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls
Sharon Bhagwan Rolls
Executive Director – FemLINKPACIFIC

The announcement on January 1, 2012 of the state’s intention to lift the Public Emergency Regulation and Media Censorship in Fiji on Saturday 7 January 2011 comes two thousand, two hundred and seventeen days since the announcement of the military takeover in 2006.

This is indeed an important and welcome indication of the sequence of events in the commitment by the state to return Fiji to parliamentary democracy.

The process of Constitution-making, we understand, must be part of a broader political dialogue process so we hope that we can look forward to a follow up announcement to invite political parties and civil society (including human rights and peace activists) to the table for a broader dialogue.

In midst of thinking about the January 1 announcement, there are also a lot of questions that also need answering about the legal processes and what the role of the Fiji Media Authority will be? Maybe this will happen on Saturday (the 7th).

For example, when it comes to the proposed process:

Who is to decide—including who is to be able to have input into the discussion, even if not to make the final decisions?

• Funding—how much will it cost, where is the money to come from, and who will be accountable?

• Timing—is there to be a timetable, and if so is it to be rigid or open to change? Is it to be tight or to allow a lot of time?

• Adoption—how is the new constitution to be passed into law—by the body that discusses and decides, by the President, or by the approval of the people through a referendum? Are there to be any other prerequisites?

• Technical quality—how is the technical quality of the document to be assured?

• Openness—how will the public be involved, what parts of the official proceedings are to be open to the public, and what will be the role of the media – including community media

These questions are not unusual. In fact as we review the range of literature available on Constitution-making processes (such as the September 2011 Interpeace publication “Constitution-making and Reform: Options for the Process” authored by Michele Brandt, Jill Cottrell, Yash Ghai, Anthony Regan) we note that there is no single formula for Constitution making and in fact this list serves as a recommended checklist by the authors in developing a road map in Constitution making, who also add:

“It may, for example:

• have only a final date by which the new constitution must be adopted, giving no other indications of time periods or order of events (this is unusual, because if tasks are specified some intended sequence will usually be stated or implied, even if in general terms);

• specify tasks in some detail and the order in which they are to be carried out, but without any time periods being fixed at all, or with only an ending date being specified;

• specify tasks in very general terms, without a clear indication of when they are to be done (for example, a requirement might be “to consult the public” without an indication of whether this is to occur before any other work is done, only when a draft is prepared, or both);

• spell out the entire sequence of events with precise time periods attached;

• involve a mixture of these approaches; or

• schedule events by reference not to time but to the occurrence of other events, such as other elements of agreement in a peace process”

So we have been thinking about what this process means for the women and young women and the communities we work with in the greater Suva area, Labasa, Nadi, Ba and Nausori.

Here’s just the beginning of our Women, Peace and Human Security Checklist:

The constitution-making process needs to be participatory, inclusive, and responsive to ALL women’s needs and rights. It is what many women refer to as “safe spaces”. Not just physically safe, but being informed enough about the process to contribute an opinion. To feel safe enough to safe an alternative viewpoint.

We hope, for example, that the consultations planned will take into the rural women and youth who continue to be marginalized from decision making forums (because) to be in line with the International human rights principles and standards, it is essential that the constitution making process reflects Articles in CEDAW as well as commitments in the (1995) Beijing Platform of Action and Program.

This means enabling human rights organisations to undertake preparatory work within our networks without fear of intimidation

To be inclusive, also means ensuring a participatory process which will be conducive to ensuring greater scope for the expression of public views. To enable all citizens to reclaim their voice through this process. It must represent the transition to engaging in more democratic processes.

After all, after 2217 days, of not having the space to speak out, we need an important and clear and empowering preparatory and consultation process to strengthen the efforts to advance gender equality rights and the empowerment of women and to simply “reclaim” what many of us felt we had lost 2216 days ago and to understand what the new post January 7 2012 political reality will be like.

CCF CEO Rev Aquila Yabaki
CCF: Blogs no longer needed after PER is lifted

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum has been calling for the Public Emergency Regulation to be lifted since April 2009 and welcomes the announcement by Bainimarama that it will cease from January 7th, 2012

“The lifting of the PER is a good sign by government as it represents a credible step in the right direction. But it is the first, belated as it is, and we may need to focus on this as an opportunity for the many more steps,” says Rev. Yabaki.

“The media Decree will now be allowed to be tested as the Duplication in Section 16 of the PER is covered by the Section 80 of the Media Decree which prohibits publication and broadcast of material which would give rise to public disorder. The PER , however, restricted assembly and this is the fundamental difference meaning that groups, political, social, church can now freely exercise their fundamental right to sit and discuss issues.”

“This freedom means that potential spoilers will also be allowed the same freedoms. They must be allowed to express their views so the debate and discussion on key national issues and the way forward represents the view of all citizens of Fiji, a country of diverse people stresses Rev. Yabaki.

“In a way the blogs will no longer dominate political discussion. The other concern area is if the media entities will quickly refrain from Self Censorship and adjust to practicing a freedom and responsibility that is fundamental to all.”

“Opinion makers offshore must also acknowledge that the lifting of the PER has a lot to do with the work by CSO’s over the last 3 years. The series of dialogues at the different levels allowing space for reasoning out the call for the removal of PER. CCF has rather been unrelenting in its call for the removal of PER and yet at the same time we have had to apply for Permits. Last year alone we had to apply for about 70 Permit Applications for each event and activity, 2010 about 80 permits applications” says Rev. Yabaki.

“The process is the first step and the real test if the current regime can shoulder the diverse opinion some of which will be negative and critical and allow the groups to assemble and talk freely without having to resort to the imposition of PER again. The fact is if this freedom is not practiced with responsibility we may find ourselves back to restrictions and this may delay the processes that promise to return us back to sustainable democracy” stresses Rev. Yabaki.

“Lifting of the PER must be understood in the concept that it allows us our fundamental freedom of expression. The work for Sustainable Democracy is in the Constitutional Work, the Electoral Reform, A legitimate Consultation Process, the preparation of the people for the polls and looking at the truth and reconciliation issues together with the exit strategy for the current regime” stated Rev. Yabaki. 

The Young Peoples Concerned Network:  Wonders if the regime will allow positive criticism.

The Young Peoples Concerned Network (YPCN) welcomes the comments by the Military backed PM Frank Bainimarama that he's Regime were looking to end the Public Emergency Regulations (PER) this coming Saturday, January 7, 2012.

The Public Emergency Regulations have been an impediment to the full exercise of human rights and access to information in Fiji. "As Fiji prepares to move towards constructing a new Constitution and defining its electorial reform process, it is significant that all barriers to our Human Freedoms are removed and the State is fully aware of its social and legally binding role in respecting the voice and needs of its Citizens" says youth activist and YPCN leader, Peter Waqavonovono.

The PER came into force when the late President Ratu Josefa Iloilo purportedly abrogated the 1997 Constitution on the 10 April 2009 and instead limited our rights to freedom of assembly, opinion, expression and movement, the right to a fair trial, and freedom from arbitrary detention.

"What we must encourage is a free media that can openly help Citizens understand the Electoral and Constitution reform processes and sufficient courage of Fiji's political and community leaders to speak out and engage. In order to set up a democratic system of governance as the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has declared in he's new years speech, I wonder if they will encourage free and fair contributions to the processes by ALL citizens and allow positive criticism from experts and not deny our leaders from joining any national frameworks or processes that will define our future" says Waqavonovono, who is also a member of the Fiji National Youth Council, "we also need to now discuss human rights violations and how the detainment and abuse of citizens in Fiji has created a spirit of fear and insecurity over publicly speaking up and engaging with the current regime. 

The regime should consider the set up of a Reconciliation and Truth Commission type of body that can look into claims of Human Rights Violations and Torture. Cases of Human Rights Violations and Torture carried out by the State should be open to Litigation and I encourage the State to now cease arbitrary detentions and all human rights abuse of Citizens. I say this in light of the arbitrary arrest of Mrs Mere Samisoni a vocal Pro-Democracy Advocate who has been in Police Custody for four days now with no access to legal assistance and family support. Under the PER, ordinary citizens can held in custody for 7 days without charge" adds Waqavonovono.

The Young Peoples Concerned Network is willing to accept offers by government officials to join National Dialogue process that will feed into the return of Democracy in Fiji.

"We are happy about this suggestion because young people, women and children are usually forgotten when if comes to nation building. However we will only engage if we are confident that our contributions will be taken seriously and there will be no impediment to human freedoms in these discussions. No one wants to participate in a process where the outcome has already been decided."


Holy Jeepers said...

Yabaki the regige supporter is taking credit for something he did not do. His organisation has not been a leader on the ground but a Bainimarama conspirator. Amazed he's so proud of himself

Anonymous said...

Yabaki the wolf in sheeps clothing...'alu!!

Anonymous said...

Dina sasy..

Rev Yabaki can you go and hide your face & SHAVE YOUR UGLY BEARED. You have no credibility and no wants to come in the open. Remember you were one of the very few people who knew about the planned coup before the December 2006 coup by Frank.

Just shut your mouth please. You did nothing except fuelling the coup just like Mahendra Pal Chaudary.

Sabutu-damu said...

Why does the nation put up with these egomaniacal military types who drag the nation thru hell for 5- 6 years of coup and then want to make us beg to have what was an established "given" prior to the coups? Has their been a criminal virus infection in the physiology of the military types, inducing atavistic regression? These military interventions in the parliamentary life of the nation takes Fiji backwards by leaps and bounds. Rev Akuila Yabaki and various other personalities warn of going all out on freedoms else the military change their mind. Hey, is he one of Bainimarama's brass-ball polishers too? To prosper, Fiji needs the freedoms it had as a given after independence. It's the freedom to think, to act and assemble for genuine concerns and enterprise that will make Fiji a vibrant and dynamic place again. More freedoms is the pathway to success not less of it. We are not China, not Singapore, we in Fiji are used to greater freedoms than them. We need to be proud of this fact and build on this strength. Why go backwards? Fiji is a small economically challenged nation, with a proud tradition of freedoms - maintain this value please. It is the best ingredient for growing the nation and providing jobs, building up loyalty.The nation will grow by cherishing values of freedom and caring, respect for the law, and building our house upon a solid foundation of Christian morality, not the quick-sand of despotic idealism.

Selfish Yabaki said...

Get a load of this tamata qasa. Look at what he says about 'potential spoilers'...Unfortunately for the righteous Rev Yabaki we all know what a spoiler he is and how he is there just for himself. C4.5 please don't give him any coverage. He does not speak for Fiji

“This freedom means that potential spoilers will also be allowed the same freedoms. They must be allowed to express their views so the debate and discussion on key national issues and the way forward represents the view of all citizens of Fiji, a country of diverse people stresses Rev. Yabaki.

“In a way the blogs will no longer dominate political discussion. The other concern area is if the media entities will quickly refrain from Self Censorship and adjust to practicing a freedom and responsibility that is fundamental to all.”

barking mad yabaki said...

Barking mad yabaki needs to sober up. Does the whiskey sodden coup military junta supporter think he is working for Qorvis? We haven't finished blogging with you yet you dumb as dog shyte coup groupie.

No Room for Grumpy Old Men said...

He also says:"The fact is if this freedom is not practiced with responsibility we may find ourselves back to restrictions and this may delay the processes that promise to return us back to sustainable democracy” stresses Rev. Yabaki....

What a brown nose this old reverend is...the new fiji does not this kind of double dipper. Let's hope he's not afforded any key role in the consultations.

Anonymous said...

yabaki Yabaki yabaki - already campaigning for more AID money by claiming some part in the lifting of the PER. How bloody stupid do you think the people of Fiji are or for the matter AID donors i.e. AUSAID, NZAID etc etc. It is disappointing that we have globetrotting good for nothing hippies like you and Sharon who are way way way out of touch with the grassroots of Fiji. it is people like you and Sharon that sit on the fence babble on about things we already know.

Anonymous said...

@barking mad

Aren't the other Methodist preachers indulging in excessive kava and smoking and 'body defiling practises' worse.

Careful when trying to remove the 'splinter' when there's the 'log' in your eye.

BATKI said...


Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 1:59pm
Aren't the other hanuman overdosing on bananas and polluted ganges water?
Careful when you remove your finger from your butt dalit.

Anonymous said...

Rev Yabaki....3 years of you begging for uplifting the PER?

So they listened to you after 3 years? USA will reward you guys with another $million for the good work.

Are you part of the group that has drafted the new constitution?

How come you talking about dilogue for new constitution? Under which law can I discuss new constitution?


More money then from US into CCF's account!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

yabaki is a idiot old fart.....thank you PETER WAQAVONOVONO for keeping us youth in the loop

Anonymous said...

vinaka PETER

mark manning said...

I'd like to know how the Regime is going to stop discrimination when Fijians already define themselves as Indigenous Fijian and non Indigenous Fijian or Indo Fijian and Fiji Youth etc.
What is a Youth in fiji, what age defines it and why ?
You are either a Citizen of Fiji or not.
There seems to be division, prejudice and confusion before we even begin the consultative process.

Bisun said...

It's ironic that Yabaki was fighting for 97 constitution during Chandrika's case. Now he has changed tune to please Frank. Those international donors should stop funding his useless organisation, their money would be in better use if they give to save the children or womens rights. Stop giving whiskey money to the drunken padre.

Discombobulated Bubu said...

Hey people wait up ..... I can't believe that certain organisations as discussed above are already by their speeches, "legitimizing", the Regime's plans to anoint a "new constitution".

Seriously peeps - what is wrong with this picture ? .... May I suggest you people take a giant step back and look at this landscape again. (Hint - what constitution is already in place ? )

Smell the Coffee said...

Just stay focused on Truth & keep the bastards honest & accountable. Don't believe ones publicity. Stay teachable & honest.

Anonymous said...

most contributions on this article reflect the ignorance . I pity them as they are just cry babies

Anonymous said...

Peter W is on the mark. he goes straight for the human rights abuses caused under the PER reign. very good. can he stand for elections 2014

Bisun said...

@ Anon Jan 4, 7:06PM, those cry babies are making you uncomfy hahahaha...

Anonymous said...

who do these NGOs really represent?? They are not chiefs nor are they elected so how can they represent anybody? What a bunch of permanent free riders!!!
Yabaki sa sivia nomu mateni, Sharon ,,,stop this fund seeking publicity and Peter please just stand in the election if you really wannabe a leader. BUT STOP PRETENDING THAT YOU LEGITIMATELY REPRESENT A SECTION OF THE POPULATION.

Bubu's Right said...

Well said Bubu...NGOS jumping to legitimize Bai wakey wakey fiji

Anonymous said...

Devil Akuila is one lying S.O.B. He's another ass licker.

The Oracle said...

I agree with all posts above. Yabaki has been a regime supporter through and through and should not further demean himself by trying to take credit for the lifting of the PER.
His warning to people and to the media to exercise restraint in their soon to be granted "freedom of expression" should be sufficient grounds for funding donors to withdraw their support for the CCF which unfortunately has become a one-man show.
It's time for Yabaki to "dry out" from all the red wine he's been drinking. It's also time Netani Rika reconsidered his association with the CCF. Rika promoted freedom of expression in his time as a newspaper editor - he cannot now change his tune and support "restrained freedom of expression".
As for Sharon, the answer to legitimising the new Constitution is crystal clear. The regime has said that the Constitution will be based on the Framework for Change which it claims has already been endorsed by the majority of our population. This claim of so called "majority" will be the base for the regime to claim popular support for its engineered Constitution. THERE WILL BE NO NATIONAL REFERENDUM. THERE WILL BE NO RECALL OF PARLIAMENT TO ENDORSE THE NEW CONSTITUTION. THE CONSTITUTION WILL BE FORCED UPON THE PEOPLE OF FIJI AND PEOPLE STANDING IN THE 2014 ELECTIONS UNDER AN ENGINEERED CONSTITUTION WILL ONLY "LEGITIMISE" IT.
While the lifting of the PER is welcome news, we need to test the regime's credibility by openly questioning in the local media:
* the "roadmap" it has in place for extensive public consultations;
* why it is that Bainimarama has already placed certain caveats on the new Constitution - shouldn't that be left to the population to decide?
* a call for regime response to issues that have arisen over the last few years - claims of kick-backs from the Chinese; claims of Nur Bano Ali receiving large chunks of taxpayer subsidised govt funding for doing work that government departments should be doing;
* an accounting of how the FBCL has managed to make a profit and how much of that profit is based on loans taken out in recent years?

Remember: Lifting of the PER can work in our favour by giving us the opportunity to now question through the media all the suspicious dealings in recent years. Lifting of the PER can also give Frank and Aiyaz the opportunity to draw opponents into the open for "weeding out".
Let us be courageous enough to now use the lifting of the PER to raise the issues that need to be raised.
The Public Order Act only relates to issues which threaten national security including inciting hatred among the various races and religions. It does NOT place a "caveat" on the people of Fiji raising issues of concern - issues like abuse of office; corruption etc.
Let's give Yabaki the "finger" - by questioning what needs to be quetioned. If the PER is re-imposed, so be it. But now is our chance to talk freely.

Wobbly Times said...

Wellllll The Yabaki at least knows that it's the blogs where the political debates are taking place tpday but he's jumping the gun to say it's the end oftheir usefulness. Blogs will be shaping debate and the future of Fiji for some time; Fiji's media has been turned into a eunuch and I'm not sure what they're capable of now.

Anonymous said...

Waqavonovono should shut his trap,
remember the words "DON'T ROCK THE BOAT"? That's right,i'm sick and tired about people that can't use
their brain?Hello, the coup was pulled because someone did not want
to go to jail?The abrogation of our
constitution and creation of decrees was the result of someone
been threatened for jail time?Let's
give the man room to move before he
changes his mind? Waqavonovono,if
you want to be a HERO joint the ARMY and go to Iraq or Afghanistan?

Taukei. said...

@ Mark Manning.

No division - confusion or prejudice - if you are an accepted member of a functioning mataqali within Viti you are a Taukei - if not your Fijian.
One can be both & one can not.
Same as the Torres Straight Aboriginal situation within your own country.

Bob Lee Swagger said...


Anonymous said...

Rev Yabaki is more like the ugly billy goat.

Anonymous said...

Yabaki doesn't need halloween attire, he'll scare the living shit out of kids if they see him in the dark.

Anonymous said...

Why are Fijians such jealous people?

Anonymous said...

Dina says..

Fijians like Indians are naturally jealous people. But worse of than Indians because they are reluctant to work very hard and smart. The coup has proved this to au all and the world.

For hard working smart educated Fijians, this is non issue, as we have seen how they have done it and made their way to the top via top education, top salaries and proven competencies. (look back at how many successful indigenous executives spun out by Frank & Aiyaz & Shameem). Fijians vs Fijians (indigenous) are bitter people. They don't like others being successful, tall poppy syndrome. They will bring you down and manufacture just about anything to destroy successful kaiviti's. That's a norm. Fijain history tells us this wave. Good example is the Mara family after the late R K Mara, passed away. Might sound loose but its the fact. Adi Koila * Adi Ateca were the main architects to bring other Kaiviti & Qaease government down. They don't like others to steel their thunder or national status. But you have to earn them, the Mara children ? just look at them and ask yourself what have they achieved.

The rest is history and even indian shoe shine boys can tell you more.

Kaiviti = veiqati ca

Indians = liumuri but positive and competitive competition to be sucessful.

God bles Fiji

Anonymous said...

Anon@9:57pm...REALLYY? I don't think that you see the point? Fijians are very demonstrative people,the coup is only a way to demo to you indo what can & will happen to you if you don't shut the
f...k-u-p; and also you need to learn, to knock at the door, to be admitted into our house? OMG, you still haven't learn anything yet? Ok next time someone will pull the coup, well put you all in the boat, this time around;and shipped you back to whence you came?

Anonymous said...

The self-delusion and naivete of the CCF and others here is breathtaking. They keep looking to Bainimarama to do the right thing by the nation, when he's only interested in doing the right thing by himself. He's a thug who, because he didn't want to be arrested on corruption charges, is now using a handful of goons to hold the entire country hostage. This is the essential truth, and everything else is window-dressing.

Wise up. With Aiyaz's help, Bainimarama will choreograph the constitutional process in order to set himself up as Nailatikau's successor but with sweeping new powers. He'll then become president for life. 

Yabaki and others, don't over-complicate matters by trying to pretend you can have real input in this, because ultimately all you're doing is vesting credibility in what will be a stage-managed affair.

s/ Dakuwaqa

Anonymous said...

Waqavonovono is a true leader! And he is a Hero ... one of your writers above feels that in order to be a hero, you have to join the rfmf and go fight in Iraq. that is ridiculous - who will fight the battles at home? at least people like Peter Waqavonovono keep this regime accountable and continue to speak for us who are so scared to stand up and put our names on this blog.
Peter is my hero

S.Vaka said...

Everyone in Fiji should spread this message if the illegal regime embarks on creating a new constitution....A clause to include an "Immunity from Criminal Prosecution" for Bainimarama and his goons must never ever be entertained to win back our freedom.

We must collectively and vigourously campaign the idea of ,"Justice First" before accepting the idea of a new constitution.

We owe this anti "Immunity from Prosecution" campaign to all those who fell victim to this brutal regime and especially those innocent citizens who lost their lives through acts of murder for no other reason accept greed for power.

Voreqe and his corrupt circle of advisors must face the death sentence before any reconciliation is accepted.