The role of the security forces in the future of Fiji was one issue discussed by delegates to the second Fiji Women’s Forum in Suva this week. The meeting agreed on four non-negotiable issues; respect for human rights; defining the role of the military; ensuring women have more say in the political process and respectful and open consultations on the constitution. One of the organising groups was FemLINK Pacific and its spokeswoman, Sharon Bagwan-Rolls, says the 62 women’s leaders concluded they must have a say in security sector governance. Sharon says this is broader than just the military and involves defining what security is.
“How do we redefine the role of the military. What about the police and what about the navy and what we are hearing from women today in particular is we want to take a look at what has been the constitutional role of the military and the security sector, particularly since independence. Where has it changed and why has it changed, and where would we like it to go,” Sharon said Meanwhile, Fiji’s Women’s Forum will be making a collective submission to the Constitutional Commission.
“This is because their perspectives are different, we have young women, we have women who I refer to by special nature are minorities and they have special needs that they want considered in the constitution, we have indigenous women whose perspective on their rights are probably different from the general perspective,” said Fiji Women’s Forum member Adi Finau Tabakaucoro.
“All these women through this forum are encouraged to look at human rights and use that as a basis for them to advance their rights in terms of their perspectives,” she said.
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