17 Jul 2006

Fiji reconciliation bill will be revised

5:46 pm on 17 July 2006

The Fiji government's controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill will undergo substantial amendments, in particular to its amnesty provisions for coup convicts, before it is tabled in parliament.

When first presented last year, the Bill sparked fierce opposition because of its provisions to grant amnesty to coup convicts, stop coup prosecutions and wipe out the criminal records of coup convicts.

In a statement the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says the amended Bill will have no general amnesty and other parts of the Bill are of equal or greater importance.

Mr Qarase says the vital section of the Bill concerns the appointment of a permanent reconciliation, tolerance and unity council with its own legislation which will aim to bridge the divisions between the communities.

Mr Qarase says the amended Bill will have a new round of public hearings to gauge opinion around the country.