12 Mar 2012

NGO calls for UN to help with role of military in Fiji

4:27 pm on 12 March 2012

The head of a leading civil society group in Fiji has urged the United Nations to help the country deal with the role of the military.

Reverend Akuila Yabaki of the Citizens Constitutional Forum has welcomed the regime's plan for a new constitution but he says the role of the military remains the elephant in the room.

The group has called for security forces to give people space so they can give their views freely during consultations in the run up to the 2014 elections.

But Reverend Yabaki says long-term the UN could help with decisions on the military's overall role..

"We'd like to see models of where small states have been able to deal with the military so that the military's in the service of the people ... not such a disproportionate size in relation to the population which is about 800,000."

Reverend Yabaki says he's pleased at the review's emphasis on public participation and the appointment of constitutional scholar Professor Yash Ghai to head the Constitution Commission.