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Raj: Archbishop’s Request Contrary To Equality, Non Discrimination

  The right to religious orientation is not under threat because this is protected by the Constitution. The call for faith-based schools to be led by principals of that particular
15 Jan 2019 11:21
Raj: Archbishop’s Request Contrary To Equality, Non Discrimination
Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (HRADC) director Ashwin Raj.

 

The right to religious orientation is not under threat because this is protected by the Constitution.

The call for faith-based schools to be led by principals of that particular faith will en­courage racial profiling based not only on faith but other prohibited grounds of discrimination.

This was the summation by Hu­man Rights and Anti-Discrimina­tion Commission (HRADC) direc­tor Ashwin Raj.

This comes after the head of Ro­man Catholic Church in Fiji Arch­bishop Peter Loy Chong had asked the Ministry of Education to recon­sider having members of the faith to head its schools.

In a letter written to the Minister of Education Rosy Akbar dated January 11th, he also requested that faith be an element of the Open Merit Recruitment Selection System (OMRSS).

In response to the request made by the Archbishop, Mr Raj said this was contrary to the principles of equality and non-discrimination.

“Soon there will be calls to have schools to be led by individuals from a particular ethnic com­munity or indeed teachers of a preferred race or religion,” he said.

“The right to religious orientation is not under threat because this is protected by the Constitution.”

He added it would oppress multi­culturalism, tolerance and diversi­ty that children should be encour­aged to practice.

“Last year the commission in­vestigated a complaint by a high school student who was told by the principal and management of the school she was attending to look for a school that “accommo­dated students of her kind” because she was wearing a headscarf,” Mr Raj said.

“This was consist­ent with her faith but deemed contrary to the dress code of the school.”

Mr Raj also opposed the Archbishop’s request on the inclu­sion of faith into the OMRS policy.

“This is not only problematic because “faith” is arbitrary and subjective in nature, but its inclu­sion will only give credence to discrimi­nation,” he said.

“The OMRS was intro­duced precisely to ensure that the most meritori­ous person was selected for the job and not be­cause of their race, religion, eth­nicity, gender or other prohibited grounds of discrimination.”

Mr Raj questioned whether Fiji was reverting to the old policy of af­firmative action by giving into the call to include faith into the Open Merit Recruitment System.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: neelam.prasad@fijisun.com.fj

 

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