Destroying temples is an abuse of basic human rights

Postdate: 17/ 12/ 2007

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) condemns the destruction of a Hindu temple by landowners in Khalsa Road, Nasinu.

“This incident is even more shocking because the destruction of the temple has happened in a semi-urban area, near Suva. The right to Freedom of Religion and Belief is a basic human right enshrined in Fiji’s 1997 Constitution. This temple destruction is tantamount to sacrilege and shows a gross disrespect of other religions by these landowners,” CCF Chief Executive Officer, Rev Akuila Yabaki said.

It is alarming that the landowners did not give sufficient time for the temple owners to dismantle their temple. A seven-day notice is not sufficient to dismantle and move a building. The NLTB needs to define a standard period of notice that can be given to tenants to move. For dismantling buildings, they should realistically give a notice of at least three months.

It is also of concern that the lawyer who gave the seven-day eviction notice is a former SDL party parliamentarian. CCF would like to know from the SDL party if they condone such acts of sacrilege and disrespect of other people’s right to Freedom of Religion.

“The tenants were secure that their lease was still valid. However, the landowners are claiming it has expired. This shows a confused state of affairs where landowners and tenants are not being provided with the right information,” Rev Yabaki said.

“If landowners and NLTB want more investment in Fiji, they need to start respecting the tenants rights and provide stable environment for use of the land leased,“ Rev Yabaki said.

For further information, please contact CCF on ph: 3308379, fax: 3308380.

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Rev Akuila Yabaki

Chief Executive Officer

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