Media Release – Re-emergence of sacrilege is a serious concern

Postdate: 19/ 01/ 2011

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) is calling on people of Fiji to respect the values and practices of people from different religious groups.

“Fiji is a country where people from many different racial and religious groups have been living together for the past century. This has been possible because there has been respect, tolerance and non-interference with the cultural and religious values of others,” CCF Chief Executive Officer Rev Akuila Yabaki said.

“We deplore the actions of thieves who stole Hindu religious deity statues from a family residence in Valelevu. This is a violation of the human rights the Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion, and also the Right to Own Property,” Rev Yabaki said.

Rev Yabaki is further calling on religious organizations, as well as parents and community leaders, to create understanding of human rights to children and community members.

“An increased knowledge of human rights can create better understanding and respect for the religious and cultural practices that are different from yours,” Rev Yabaki said. “Government should step-up the activities to create racial and religious tolerance if it is indeed committed to multiculturalism.”

CCF is concerned that the Police Crime Statistics do not register sacrilege as a category of crime anymore, even though it is classified as a separate serious offence under the Crimes Decree. “Failure to monitor sacrilege or categories of specific hate crimes allows them to go unnoticed,” Rev Yabaki said.

For further information, contact CCF on ph: 3308379, fax: 3308380 or email: ccf@kidanet.net.fj .

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