9 Jun 2005

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs to receive petition on Reconciliation Bill

10:48 am on 9 June 2005

Fiji's civil society groups are making a last ditch attempt to block the government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill by taking it to the country's highest traditional body.

Fiji TV reports that a petition with more than 5-thousand signatures from concerned mothers around the country will be presented to the Great Council of Chiefs in the hope that they can persuade the government to change its mind.

Susana Tuisawau, a spokesperson for the Concerned Mothers' Petition, says what comes out of the Great Council of Chiefs will have to be considered by the government.

Another coordinator of the petition, Virisila Buadromo, says it's been organised by ordinary citizens who feel the government hasn't held proper and wide consultations on the Bill.

Semiti Qalowasa, of the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy, says they've translated the Bill into Fijian to help the chiefs make better decisions.

The chairman of the Great Council, Ratu Ovini Bokini, had earlier said the government hadn't consulted them on the Bill.