The State


WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE FIJI ISLANDS, Seeking the blessing of God who has always watched over these islands:

1. RECALLING the events in our history that have made us what we are, especially the settlement of these islands by the ancestors of the indigenous Fijian and Rotuman people; the arrival of forebears of subsequent settlers, including Pacific Islanders, Europeans, Indians and Chinese; the conversion of the indigenous inhabitants of these islands from heathenism to Christianity through the power of the name of Jesus Christ; the enduring influence of Christianity in these islands and its contribution, along with that of other faiths, to the spiritual life of Fiji.

2. ACKNOWLEDGING our unique constitutional history:
  1. first, the Deed of Cession of 10 October 1874 when Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau, Tui Viti and Vunivalu, together with the High Chiefs of Fiji, signifying their loyalty and devotion to Her Most Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria, and their acceptance of the divine guidance of God and the rule of law, ceded Fiji to Great Britain, which cession was followed in November 1879 by the cession to Great Britain of Rotuma by the Chiefs of Rotuma;
  2. secondly, our becoming an independent sovereign state when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II promulgated the Fiji Independence Order 1970 under which the Fiji Constitution of 1970 came into being;
  3. thirdly, the abrogation of that Constitution in 1987 by the Constitution Abrogation Decree 1987;
  4. fourthly, after a period of 3 years, the giving to Fiji of the 1990 Constitution by His Excellency the President, Ratu Sir Penaia Kanatabatu Ganilau, Tui Cakau, GCMG, KCVO, KBE, DSO. KStJ, ED, with the blessings and approval of the Great Council of Chiefs;
  5. fifthly, the review of that Constitution undertaken under its provisions; and
  6. sixthly, the conferral by the High Chiefs of Fiji in their abundant wisdom of their blessings and approval on this Constitution:
  7. RECOGNISING that the descendants of all those who chose to make their homes in these islands form our multicultural society:
3. AFFIRMING the contributions of all communities to the well-being of that society, and the rich variety of their faiths, traditions, languages and cultures.

4. TAKING PRIDE our common citizenship and in the development of our economy and political institutions.

5. COMMITTING ourselves anew to living in harmony and unity, promoting social justice and the economic and social advancement
of all communities, respecting their rights and interests and strengthening our institutions of government.

6.REAFFIRMING our recognition of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals and groups, safeguarded by adherence to the rule of law, and our respect for human dignity and for the importance of the family, WITH GOD AS OUR WITNESS, GIVE OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

Chapter I The State

Section 1: Republic of the Fiji islands

The Republic of the Fiji Islands is a sovereign, democratic state.

Section 2: Supremacy of Constitution

1. This Constitution is the supreme law of the State.

2. Any law inconsistent with this Constitution is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency.

Section 3: Interpretation of Constitution

In the interpretation of a provision of this Constitution:
  1. a construction that would promote the purpose or object underlying the provision, taking into account the spirit of this Constitution as a whole, is to be preferred to a construction that would not promote that purpose or object; and
  2. regard must be had to the context in which this Constitution was drafted and to the intention that constitutional interpretation take into account social and cultural developments, especially:
  • developments in the understanding of the content of particular human rights; and
  • developments in the promotion of particular human rights.
Section 4: Languages

1. The English, Fijian and Hindustani languages have equal status in the State.

2. This Constitution is to be adopted in English but translations in Fijian and Hindustani are to be available.

3. If, in the interpretation of a provision of this Constitution, there is an apparent difference between the meaning of the English version of the provision and its meaning in Fijian or Hindustani, the English version prevails.

4. Every person who transacts business with:
  1. a department;
  2. an office in a state service; or
  3. a local authority;
  4. has the right to do so in English, Fijian or Hindustani, either directly or through a competent interpreter.
Section 5: State and religion

Although religion and the State are separate, the people of the Fiji Islands acknowledge that worship and reverence of God are the source of good government and leadership.