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Freedom to choose

Luke Rawalai
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

THE 2009 Crimes Decree which criminalises prostitution can be challenged in court as it is not in line with the Constitution.

Speaking at a convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) consultation workshop in Labasa yesterday, legal consultant Sera Karuru said sections criminalising prostitution had a good chance of being revoked because they were not in line with the Constitution.

Ms Karuru said section 32 of the 2013 Constitution gave any person the freedom to choose his or her own means of livelihood.

"Therefore, if a person or woman was earning her livelihood through prostitution, it is well within the limits of the Constitution and any legislation that limits a person's freedom to exercise this right is challengeable," she said.

"The recognition of women's right to partake in any income-generation work is also in line with the CEDAW convention.

"Fiji is a signatory to this convention and has implemented it."

Ms Karuru said so far the sections criminalising prostitution in the 2009 Crimes Decree had not been challenged in Fiji's courts since the inception of the Constitution last year.

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