Christianity to be state religion: SDL

By FONUA TALEI The Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party, in its push to declare Fiji a Christian State, now wants Christianity to be the religion of the state. In
18 Oct 2012 10:17

SDL party members (from left) Dr Tupeni Baba, Ratu Jone Kubuabola and Pio Tabaiwalu during the press conference in Suva yesterday. Photo: RAMA


The Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party, in its push to declare Fiji a Christian State, now wants Christianity to be the religion of the state.
In its submission to the Constitution Commission it says – “The SDL Party proposes that “Christianity” be proclaimed the state religion of Fiji.
The SDL said some decrees that were now in place have made the iTaukei people insecure. The  insecurity, it said had arisen from the following:

  • the establishment of the Land Bank without proper consultations;
  • what it called the removal of their representatives through the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (BLV) in the Native Land Trust Board; and
  • the imposition of the Surfing Decree with its subsequent effects on iQoliqoli rights.

The SDL said the overall cost of keeping the military in its present state is unsustainable for our economy.  A cut in numbers will divert much-needed financial resources to productive sectors of the economy and to assist programmes for the poor and disadvantaged, it said..
The party is totally against immunity for those who led the 2006 takeover.

Rabuka submission
Fiji’s former prime minister Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka, who staged Fiji’s first coup d’ état on May 14, 1987,  in making his submission to the Constitution Commission on Saturday called for pardon for those involved in the 2006 takeover.
Mr Rabuka said Section 5 of the 1997 Constitution stated that religion and the State were separate and that the people of Fiji acknowledged that worship and reverence of God were the source of good governance and leadership.
“Declaring Fiji a ‘Secular State’ will have its disadvantages also, similar to declaring it a ‘Christian State’.  It is better that the constitutions and written laws declare Fiji a Christian State rather than declaring it a Secular State.
Ro Teimumu Kepa submission
Rewa high chief, Marama na Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa made a submission on behalf of all the district chiefs in Rewa.
In her submission she does not want the new constitution to grant amnesty to those involved in the  2006 takeover.
Ro Teimumu was a member of the SDL-led Government removed in the military takeover.
She said the people of Rewa firmly believe that the Christian faith is the hope, the keel and the compass by which Fiji’s ship of state sails; for it was Christianity that first brought light to these islands and convinced  our ancestors and chiefs to lay aside their war clubs and embrace the teachings of Christ.
She said the people of Rewa believe that the 1997 Constitution best protects the interest of indigenous Fijians as prescribed in the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples as well as protecting the rights of all races that call Fiji their home.

DIVA view
Meanwhile, a submission prepared by 50 Fijian lesbian, bisexual women and transgender (LBT) males proposed for full enjoyment of human rights by human beings regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The individuals from the Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality peer group  called for full accountability by those who violate human rights laws whether government officials or not.
“The new constitution must explicitly state that everyone whose human rights are violated is entitled to have those directly or indirectly responsible for the violation be held responsible for their actions in a manner that is proportionate to the seriousness of the violation,” group said.
The group submitted that the new constitution should enshrine key principles of non-discrimination and affirmative action including various temporary special measures toward gender empowerment and equality.

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