I do not agree with politicians who say there is nothing to celebrate about our Constitution - Raj

I do not agree with politicians who say there is nothing to celebrate about our Constitution - Raj

By Shanil Singh
Tuesday 07/09/2021
Director of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj

The Director of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj says he does not agree with some politicians that there is nothing to celebrate about the 2013 Constitution.

Raj says Constitution Day is very significant because it should be cause for reflection on the need for people to constructively engage with the Bill of Rights despite their political differences.

He says the fact that we have common and equal citizenry now as a provision in our Constitution is a big thing because this was not present previously.

He says it is not enough to say that this Constitution was imposed on the people of Fiji because we have had two elections under this Constitution.

Raj says the people who are dismissing the Constitution have also stood under two elections under this Constitution.

He says there is something very significant about our Constitution and about today.

Raj says in the context of the current pandemic, we need to engage more in relation to competing sets of rights.

He says there is a lot of contention about people being arrested for exercising their right to free speech but adds the right to free speech is also limited on the grounds of public health.

Raj adds if we understand the relationship between rights and responsibility carefully, the Constitution provides for a robust framework for the kind of democracy we are all yearning for despite our political differences.

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