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The Transitional Justice Peace Agreements Database.  
 
Database - Record for : Constitution (Amendment) Act 1997 of the Republic of the Fiji Islands
Record 7

Country :

Fiji

Agreement Title/Name:
Constitution (Amendment) Act 1997 of the Republic of the Fiji Islands
Year :
1997
Date Signed :

25 July 1997

Summary :

This constitution implemented some of the recommendations of the government established Constitution Review Commission?s 1996 Report ?The Fiji Islands: Towards a United Future? (Parliamentary paper no. 34 of 1996. Parliament of Fiji, Suva). This was an attempt to establish an entirely new non-racial Constitution to replace the 1990 constitution with its racial weighting and under-representation of the minority Indo-Fijian community as regards the indigenous Fijian community. The new constitution did not make the recommended move away from communalism, with two thirds of all seats in the new 70 seat parliament still to be elected on a communal basis, leaving only one third of seats free for inter-ethnic competition.


Parties :
Third Parties :
Statehood/Identity :
New non-racial Constitution to replace the 1990 constitution with its racial weighting and under-representation of the minority Indo-Fijian community as regards the indigenous Fijian community. Chapter 1, 4.-(1) The English, Fijian and Hindustani languages have equal status in the State. 5. Although religion and the State are separate, the people of the Fiji Islands acknowledge that worship and reverence of God are the source of good government and leadership. 5.(9) For the purposes of this section, an ethnic community is to be taken as having effective equality of access to a level or branch of service of the State only if it is represented there in a number broadly proportionate to its number in the adult population as a whole, unless its under-representation is due solely to its particular occupational preferences. 116. gives constitutional basis to formerly statutory body of Great Council of Chiefs, membership, functions and procedures to remain the same. Chapter 13. 185. Group Rights- any bill to alter terms of the Acts protecting various ethnic groups has to be approved by 2/3 of both houses of parliament; 186. -(1) The Parliament must make provision for the application of customary laws and for dispute resolution in accordance with traditional Fijian processes.
Governance/Democratic Inst :
New constitution did not make the recommended move away from communalism, with two thirds of all seats in the new 70 seat parliament still to be elected on a communal basis, leaving only one third of seats free for inter-ethnic competition. Chapter 6 sets out govt power-map, article 51 setting out ethnic group quotas
Women :
6. (k) affirmative action and social justice programs to secure effective equality of access to opportunities, amenities or services for the Fijian and Rotuman people, as well as for other communities, for women as well as men, and for all disadvantaged citizens or groups, are based on an allocation of resources broadly acceptable to all communities; 7. makes the foegoing provision non-justiciable, except to the extent that is covered by other provisions in the constitution or enacted through statute. Criteria for appointment to judicial office 134. The making of appointments to judicial office is governed by the principles, first, that judges should be of the highest quality and, secondly, that the composition of the judiciary should, as far as practicable, reflect the ethnic and gender balance of the community.
Amnesty :
115. establishes Commission on the Prerogative of Mercy to advise the president on pardons to be issued (no reference to any conflict or particular group to benefit from this)
Past Mechanism :
Not Applicable
Prisoner Release :
Not Applicable
Victims :
Not Applicable
Criminal Justice Reform :
131. establishes Judicial Services Commission consisting of Chief Justice, and reps of the Fiji Law Society and Public Services Commission to investigate complaints against judges; Criteria for appointment to judicial office 134. The making of appointments to judicial office is governed by the principles, first, that judges should be of the highest quality and, secondly, that the composition of the judiciary should, as far as practicable, reflect the ethnic and gender balance of the community.
National Human Rights Inst :
42. establishes Human Rights Commission, sets out powers and composition
Human Rights Framework :
Chapter 1, art. 3 constitution to be interpreted in the understanding and promotion of human rights;
Judicial Reform :
131. establishes Judicial Services Commission consisting of Chief Justice, and reps of the Fiji Law Society and Public Services Commission to investigate complaints against judges; Criteria for appointment to judicial office 134. The making of appointments to judicial office is governed by the principles, first, that judges should be of the highest quality and, secondly, that the composition of the judiciary should, as far as practicable, reflect the ethnic and gender balance of the community.
Policing :
111. establishes Office of Police Commissioner to command the Fiji police force
Refugees/Land :
Not Applicable
Civil Society :
Not Applicable
Dev& Socio-Economic Rights :
Not Applicable
Enforcement Mechanism :
52. -(1) The Constituency Boundaries Commission must determine the boundaries of constituencies for the election of members to communal seats and open seats. Establishes 146. Constitutional Offices Commission and 147. Public Services Commission to make appointments to constitutional offices and public services, respectively. 157. establishes Office of Ombudsman
International Community :
UN Involvement :
Source :
http://www.unescap.org/esid/psis/population/database/poplaws/law_fiji/fiji_004.htm


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