The Fijian army, which is more than 90 per cent indigenous Fijian, led the first military coup in 1987.
Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group Concluding Statement
New York, 28 September 2012
1. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) held its Thirty-Eighth Meeting in New York on 28 Septem- ber 2012.
2. The meeting was attended by: Hon. Sato Kilman, MP, Prime Minister of Vanuatu; Sen. the Hon. Bob Carr, Min- ister for Foreign Affairs of Australia; Hon. Dr Dipu Moni, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh; Hon. John Baird, MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada; Hon. A.J. Nicholson, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica; Hon. Bernard K. Membe, MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation of Tan- zania; Hon. Winston Dookeran, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communications of Trinidad and Tobago, and H.E. Andrew Bangali, Ambassador of Sierra Leone to Ethiopia and the African Union.
3. CMAG Ministers unanimously elected Hon. Dr Dipu Moni, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, as the new Chair of CMAG.
4. CMAG reiterated its commitment to supporting and encouraging Fiji’s reinstatement as a full member of the Commonwealth family, through the restoration of civilian constitutional democracy.
5. Ministers welcomed continued progress in Fiji, includ- ing completion of the first phase of voter registration and commencement of the constitutional consultation process. Ministers welcomed the broad-based national dialogue on Fiji’s future taking place through that pro- cess, and commended the Constitutional Commission on its work to date.
6. Ministers emphasized the importance of a constitu- tional process which is fully independent, inclusive and without pre-determined outcomes.
7. Ministers expressed concern about remaining restric- tions on human rights and the rule of law, and urged the government of Fiji to address these in order to create the environment necessary for credible constitutional consul- tations and elections.
8. Ministers reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s readiness to provide assistance to Fiji in appropriate ways and encour- aged further high-level interaction between the Com- monwealth and Fiji.
of special indigenous interests relating to culture, land, political rights and preferential development. These special privileges were later encapsulated in the military- sponsored 1990 constitution which replaced the abrogated 1970 constitution. Amongst the preferential development initiatives were affirmative action policies to address
the socio-economic gap between indigenous Fijians and other ethnic groups; but allegations of widespread corruption by indigenous elites led to the collapse of many affirmative action projects followed by criminal investigations. As a result of demand for a
more multi-ethnic reform, the 1990 constitution was substantially
9. Ministers noted the decisions of leaders of the Pacific in relation to Fiji at a number of recent meetings, and reiterated the Commonwealth’s commitment to working in consultation and co-operation with regional and inter- national partners.
amended, resulting in the 1997 constitution which had a number of “progressive” provisions relating to the Bill of Rights and social justice. Still this did not satisfy the ethno-nationalists who, with the help of a military unit,
staged the 2000 coup after Mr Mahendra Chaudhry, the first Indo- Fijian Prime Minister, won the 1999 election, the first under the 1997 constitution. The military staged a counter-