The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum is concerned that a dispute over the ownership of a temple in Nasea, Labasa has led to certain individuals being banned from entering the house of worship.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18 states that “ Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and the actions of the largest Hindu organization in the country, the Shree Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, breaches this basic right of the four individuals who have been stopped from worshipping at the temple.
“Such an action is not conducive to how religious based organizations should deal with personal differences with individual members of the congregation.” “If the organization is dissatisfied with certain members, it must enter into dialogue and find a peaceful solution and not place a ban on people from entering an institution where people go to find solace and inner peace and to also practice their faith as an act of worship” says CCF Chief Executive Officer Reverend Akuila Yabaki.
The CCF calls on the Sabha to immediate retract its decision to ban the four individuals from praying at the temple as it also reflects badly on such an influential organization which must be seen as setting an example on how disputes can be amicably resolved.
“Restricting ones rights to freedom of religion and worship could inevitably lead to dissent within the congregation at a time when religious based organizations must be at the forefront in nation building and bringing about unity amongst its people” says Reverend Yabaki. For further information please contact the communications team at CCF on firstname.lastname@example.org.