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Poverty, violence, rape etc. rising, say Churches

website: www.pcgov.org.fj


PEOPLE'S COALITION GOVERNMENT, FIJI

Poverty, family violence, rape, prostitution, unemployment, suicide all increasing, say Churches

Issue No: 197; November 2000

There has been increasing poverty, family violence, rape, prostitution, unemployment, suicide and disillusionment among young people during the past few months, says the Fiji Council of Churches (FCC).

The FCC, comprising the Methodist Church, the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Salvation Army, the Baptist Church and the Congregation Christina Church, issued a statement which raised concern at violent means becoming the norm in resolving conflicts and disagreements at the political level and for personal retribution.

Referring to the 2 November attempted coup, the FCC stated: "We must never allow violence to be institutionalised in our social, political and economic policies and structure. We strongly condemn the manner in which soldiers on both sides died and we call for a thorough investigation of human rights abuses".

It also called on the military and the Great Council of Chiefs to admit that it was their inability to solve the problems brewing since 19 May which led to the soldiers killing each other. It has also called on the military to "clearly define its role, loyalty and relationship to the State".

The FCC also called on the State to stop perpetuating "existing forms of violence where unjust economic policies, affirmative action policies and the Constitution breed other forms of poverty and social exclusion which would in turn lead to deepening social unrest". It asked all Christians to "live the true values and teachings of Jesus".

This statement is the first of its kind which the Churches have taken out since the terrorists attacked the Parliament on 19 May. The Churches have yet to take a stand on the return of the 1997 Constitution and the conduct of political affairs under the provisions of this constitution.

END

13 November 2000


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