THE transformation of Fiji's constitution over the years has brought about a more nation-building approach, says Fiji Constitutional Review Commission (FCRC)chairman Professor Yash Ghai.
"Recently, the constitutions have been more about a nationhood and nation-building before state-building," Prof Ghai said.
"Over the years, they have become quite complex and have had a sense of community," he said in his address at the University of the South Pacific's Fiji Day celebrations held at its Laucala Campus in Suva.
"No country illustrates this change like Fiji, which has a constitution that is very much about community," he added.
Prof Ghai, who has authored numerous books on human rights and constitutions, said in the past, constitutions were not so much focussed on the country's people, but more so on State-building.
He made reference to a speech made on March 9 this year by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama who said "it is a Fiji where you easily embrace a wider community".
"Today, there's emphasis on human rights and communities. There's also recognition of the rights of women, of children, of the elderly and of the disabled," Prof Ghai said.
The Kenyan resident noted that the current constitution struck a fine balance between nation-building, State-building and creating a common brotherhood without compromising peoples' rights.
"We acknowledge that individuals are part of the community but are still able to seek different lifestyle outside of the community. Individual lifestyles can be chosen to suit different people now," Prof Ghai said. "Culture thrives when it isn't too close to the State, it flourishes on freedom and liberation and unless this freedom exists, it will not be able to survive in this contemporary world," he said.
USP celebrated Fiji's 42 years of independence - an initiative of the university's Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE). They hosted the public, academics and members of the diplomatic corps to a cheerful display of Fiji's history.
The event saw close to 200 people turn up to witness and support the university's appreciation of Fiji's developments since its independence.