Sons, daughters wrote petition - Lawyer
The Samoa Solidarity International Group (S.S.I.G.) has released details of an online petition that opposes proposed amendments to Samoa’s Constitution.
S.S.I.G. lawyer, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, told the Samoa Observer that the petition is the work of the sons and daughters of Samoa who currently reside overseas.
"Obviously they are concerned so they did that online petition. I understand that they are going for 10,000 signatures. This petition was planned from overseas. It is from the Samoans who are overseas and I just signed it like everyone else,” she said.
“It is another way and means of expressing their revulsion against these three bills because it affects every Samoan, and of course they’re overseas and remitting and right now the biggest income coming into our country are remittances.”
According to Unasa, she is supporting the proponents of the online petition and they have every right to express concern with the proposed legislation.
“So basically they still call Samoa their home, they identify as Samoans where they are.”
The SSIG has been doing awareness on the big island of Savai’i and in most the villages on Upolu, she added, advising them of their fundamental rights.
“So that is why we are passionate about what is happening right now because we have been going around Savai’i and the majority of villages here in Upolu and we go to the villages and give them a copy of the Constitution and advise them of their fundamental rights,” she added.
“We often ask people, how many of you have the Bible, and then everyone’s hand is up. But then we ask how many have the Constitution of Samoa, no one. So we thought that there is a need for our people to be informed about their rights.”
But amid her group’s focus on awareness relating to citizens’ fundamental rights, she is not sure if their concerns will be considered by the Parliament.
"The issue is will these guys take this into account? Will the committee take it into account? I hope the number of people who sign it will raise concerns to the committee,” she said.
According to Unasa, she supports the online petition and emphasised: “Its democracy and the people’s voices need to be heard. If they don’t want to hear it then obviously we are no longer under a democratic Government.”