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Fiji Time: 5:36 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Women want respect

Serelisoni Moceica
Monday, April 23, 2012

RESPECT the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.

This was one of the conclusions at the inaugural Fiji Women's Forum held recently in the capital.

"If people cannot meet freely and speak without fear, they will be unable to effectively engage in the ongoing democratisation process," a forum statement said.

The women demanded any new or reformed constitution must be built on the benchmark of freedoms and rights included in the 1997 Constitution and integrate international human rights treaties and norms.

The forum said the Public Order Amendment Decree and all other "repressive" decrees should be repealed based on this context.

The forum was co-convened by the Fiji Women's Rights Movement, FemLINKPacific, National Council of Women and the Soqosoqo Vakamarama i-Taukei.

The general secretary of the Soqosoqo Vakamarama, Adi Finau Tabakaucoro, said women also wanted to be part of national political processes.

"We would like to be part of those preparatory programs and we would like to have an input into the curriculum of those programs, engender those programs, so that the programs are indeed participatory," she said, adding forum members want to be assured of their safety while participating in these processes.

Questions sent to the government last week on these issues were not answered.