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AG denounces Nawaikula’s attempts to mislead Fijians

September 20, 2021 4:15 pm
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum[left] and Opposition MP Niko Nawaikula.

The Attorney-General has hit out at Opposition MP Niko Nawaikula for misleading parliament about registration in the Vola ni Kawa Bula.

Parliament was debating a proposed amendment to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act which seeks to permit mothers to register their children and gives them equal status as that of fathers.

At the moment, only the father of a child may register the child at first, and the mother may only do so if the father is deceased, ill, absent or is unable to register the child.

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The amendment bill states the current provision is discriminatory.

Nawaikula claimed the changes would have consequences on the Vola ni Kawa Bula which is a register of iTaukei children under their landowning units.

“What will be the impact of this on the culture of the iTaukei? Their culture is reflected in the maintenance of the VKB, in most cases, they have to go through the patrilineal line. If not, there has to be an agreement. All of this will come out if rightfully, as the law requires, this amendment is referred to a parliamentary committee so that the input of experts, those affected and stakeholders are brought in.”

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum confirms the registration of newborns and registration under the VKB are entirely separate.

“Trying to make the people feel somehow or the other the VKB is under attack just because they’ve changed the law. Now women can register their sons and daughters, therefore the VKB is under attack. They are mute, not correcting him because they believe in the politics of fear, creating ethnic division. This is what it fundamentally boils down to.”

The Bill also seeks to simplify the process of changing a person’s name.

At the moment, a person has to register a deed poll at the Office of the Registrar of Deeds before his or her name can be changed by the Ministry of Justice.

The proposed amendment removes the requirement for a deed poll and instead a person only has to apply to have a change of name.

The proposed amendment reduces the age for change of name from 21 to 18 years.

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