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Fiji Time: 8:32 AM on Sunday 31 August

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Constitution recognises indigenous people

Geraldine Panapasa
Sunday, August 25, 2013

THERE is now specific recognition in the preamble of the new Constitution for indigenous people of Fiji, says Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Speaking to members of the media at the Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) congress in Nadi yesterday, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the document, which was unveiled on Thursday, recognised the unique customs, traditions, language and ownership of land for iTaukei.

"There is also the recognition of the unique cultures, traditions and customs, and ownership of land for Rotuman people," he said.

"We received feedback from the people of Rotuman origin that there is no mention of them when in fact they are a part of Fiji.

"Then there is the recognition of the culture, customs and traditions of other groups in Fiji whether they are descendants of indentured labourers, British India or from the Pacific island." He said the distinction between the indigenous and non-indigenous people was that the indigenous customs, traditions and culture were unique only to Fiji.

"There is nowhere else in the world where this is practised. We should celebrate that," he said.

"When the draft constitution was circulating, people found the need to have specific mentions. This was a feedback that was taken aboard.

"People do feel a sense of ownership with the Constitution."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said Fiji's revolution had laid the foundations for a fairer, more equal society and the development of a modern, progressive state.


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