21 Jul 2005

Women's groups oppose Fiji Reconciliation Bill

10:20 am on 21 July 2005

Women's organisations in Fiji have strongly opposed the government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill designed to free coup convicts and drop prosecutions against others.

The Daily Post reports that the Concerned Mothers Group has sent a petition to President Iloilo and Prime Minister Qarase asking for the withdrawal of the bill because they consider it detrimental to society.

A spokesperson for the group, Ravesi Johnson, says they have also sent a petition to the Speaker of the House of Representatives asking him not to allow the tabling of the Bill in parliament.

Mrs Johnson says women need to have a say on matters regarding the nation but they have not been consulted.

Meanwhile, the National Council of Women says they do not believe reconciliation will result from "legislative processes that are unconstitutional and favour the perpetrators of criminal acts more than the welfare of the victims."

The Council says it rejects the Bill because it undermines the rule of law including the efforts of the police, the director of public prosecutions, the judiciary and the constitutional role of the Fiji Human Rights Commission.