Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Methodist Church Position on Fiji Stuation

Methodist Church in Fiji & Rotuma
Stand of the Church Concerning the Current Political Situation

Since the abrogation of the Constitution and the reappointment of the Bainimarama regime by the President on 10 April 2009 following the Appeals Court ruling declaring invalid the Fiji high court decision supporting the President’s action in making valid the appointment of the Bainimarama interim government in January 2009, Fiji has gone through a potentially explosive crisis with suspension of basic rights and freedom, censorship of the press and a dramatic increase in poverty adding to increasing dependency and the greater impoverishment of a larger number of people.
The Church is charged with the responsibility to educate and instill Christian values and those of good citizenship among our people especially our children. In the light of existing circumstances, we are beginning to ask ourselves:
What have our children to learn when they see the illegal actions and misconduct of our national leaders?
What kind of role model are our government leaders of today offering our children and the world?
Can we expect better leaders of our children tomorrow, if our leaders act contrary to the law and the Constitution, and disrespect the basic rights of the people?
The Church must uphold God’s truth and His concern for human dignity.
The Bible teaches that citizens are not obligated in conscience to follow the prescriptions of civil authorities if their actions, precepts and policies are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or to the teachings of the Gospel.
What is happening in Fiji today points to the State having lost its moral authority to govern, having become tyrannical against the people it is supposed to serve.
The Church, the Pacific Forum Leaders, the Commonwealth and the United Nations have made numerous offers and opportunities for negotiation and reconciliation which have all been spurned by the Bainimarama regime.
In our Christian tradition, we recognize that we have all sinned and fallen short of the grace and goodness of God.
If the people including the leaders of Fiji are able, with humility and honesty, to recognize our weaknesses, ask God for forgiveness and turn from our ways, there can be true forgiveness, reconciliation and healing.
Therefore, in the interest of alleviating the poverty and suffering of the people, support for the rule of law, peace, justice, good governance and integrity, it is imperative that the Church sends out a prophetic message at this critical juncture in Fiji.
The Methodist Church therefore calls on the head of state Ratu Josefa Iloilo, the interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and the interim government to:
-Reinstate the Constitution and comply with the rule of law as directed by the Appeals Court on Thursday 09 April 2009
-Return the country to democratic elections under the 1997 Constitution, and under foreign, independent supervision, not later than December 2009
-Protect all the rights of its citizens as stipulated under the 1997 Constitution, especially from arbitrary arrest, harassment, torture and inhumane treatment
-Reinstate the law courts and ensure an independent judiciary.
-Ensure that any changes to the electoral system are democratic, constitutional, participatory, and inclusive and accounts for the interests of all individuals and ethnic groups complying with the UN Convention on the Declaration of Human Rights as well the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
-Ensure that the Charter is considered and acted upon in line with the provisions of the 1997 Constitution.
-Ensure the operation of a free and independent media
-Set up an independent truth and reconciliation commission towards national forgiveness, reconciliation and healing.

Fasting and praying for the Nation is observed Fiji-wide to ask for divine intervention towards the return of democracy, rule of law, basic freedoms and basic rights and good governance in our nation.

That plans for resources be drawn up, made available and executed at the respective Divisions of the Church to assist the congregation, especially the needy, as well as appraise them on relevant social, political and economic issues, and that peaceful activities be undertaken to help move the nation to constitutional democracy and democratic governance.

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