Thursday, 12 November 2009

Meeting with Chris Bryant MP about Fiji

Yesterday evening I went with David and David Bradwell from the Connexional Team to meet Chris Bryant MP, a minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to talk about the situation in Fiji. The meeting had been facilitated by Methodist MP Meg Munn who also has an interest in this issue, having visited Fiji during the summer as part of a group looking at the impact of climate change.

The Methodist Church in Fiji is by far the largest religious group there and has been the subject of increased persecution by the military government led by Commodore Josaia Vorege (Frank) Bainimarama who came to power in a coup in 2006. This year the annual Conference was prevented from taking place, as was the annual choir festival, and significant speaking restrictions have been placed on senior church leaders.

In August the President of the Methodist Church of Fiji Rev Ame Tugaue, the General Secretary, Rev Tuikilakila Waqairatu, and seven other church leaders appeared in court charged with attending an unauthorised committee meeting. Court action continues and communication by and within the church is being monitored, crippling the churches business.

Last week the political situation in Fiji deteriorated further with the expulsion of the Australian and New Zealand High Commissioners.

The British Government is aware of the risks of being seen as a former colonial power lecturing Fiji, but nevertheless they have made their concerns known about the unacceptable treatment of the Methodist Church in Fiji. Fiji has now been suspended from the Commonwealth and the EU has also taken action to try and put pressure on the military leadership to move to free elections as soon as possible.

David and I underlined the concern raised by the Methodist Conference and by Methodists across the world and hoped that the British Government would continue to do all in its power to help seek a resolution to the dreadful situation in Fiji.


Anonymous said...

Would the politicization of the pulpit, in ethnic terms a good thing for Fiji, or its removal be even better?

Has anyone thought about the Methodist church and Sunday bans post 1987 coup in Fiji?

bathmate said...

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neeuqfonafamai said...

Just wondering what the latest is on the situation in Fuji

Duncan said...

Could we be updated about the present situation as there has been no updated for some time.. Very concerned about Fijian Methodist friends on the island and in the UK.