THE Constitution Commission is independent in the discharge of its function and no one, not even the government, can interfere in its task.
Constitution Commission chairman Professor Yash Ghai made this comment while launching the first public consultation at the Civic Auditorium yesterday and said the government was obliged to co-operate with the commission to ensure that its work proceeded as smoothly as possible, and that they had the resources necessary to perform its function effectively.
He said no commission worked in a vacuum if the overall context in which it operated was not hospital to the freedom of assembly and speech.
"It's for this reason that the commission urged that restrictions on meetings under the Public Order Act should be lifted. We are gratified that the Decree does away with the need for a permit but the commission believes that other restrictions on the freedom of speech and assembly and on the media remain as we have been told repeatedly by Fijians we have met," he said.
He says the process seeks to build the people's constitution, reflecting people's sovereignty.
"We as the commission are required to ensure that all people of Fiji are able to participate in the process and among the factors upon which the commission must make its decision is wishes of the people of Fiji," Prof Ghai said.
"We are also obliged to study the circumstances and needs of Fiji and its people," he said.