The Constitution Commission has been asked to ensure provisions for proper housing, sanitation and basic health amenities are included when Fiji's new constitution is drafted.
In her submission to the Constitution Commission at the Anglican Church in Nausori yesterday, 53-year-old Sushila Devi of Beaumont squatter settlement in Narere said Fiji needed a lot of developments in the housing sector.
Mrs Devi, who is a widow with three children, said she had been living in a squatter settlement for the past 10 years and since then the settlement has not received any State support.
She said in the new constitution people living in squatter settlements should be given priority to realise their aspirations for a better life.
Mrs Devi said they needed their own houses, secure land and proper water and electricity.
"The squatter settlement houses 45 families on State land we need some help and support," she said.
Mrs Devi said the women and youths in Fiji were not getting jobs; wages were very low while the prices of groceries, water and electricity bills kept increasing.
She also highlighted that the housing conditions in squatter settlements are very poor.
"Due to poor infrastructure conditions, senior citizens living in the settlement face difficulty going to hospitals," Mrs Devi said.
She said squatter settlers also feared for their future because they didn't have secure land tenure.
"I propose that the government consider our plight and provide us some form of assistance," Mrs Devi said.
Another Beaumont settler, Sarita Devi, said a lot of low-income earners were in squatter settlements.
"The cost of living is very high and the schools have levied high fees and the parents are having difficulties paying the fees," she said.
Mrs Devi said they would appreciate provisions in the new constitution to assist the low income earners.