20 Sep 2002

Senior Fiji churchman accuses country's leaders of racist attitudes

10:37 am on 20 September 2002

Fiji's Catholic Archbishop says the country's society has to acknowledge it is racially and religiously intolerant.

Archbishop Petero Mataca says unless this happens there can be no justice and therefore no healing or reconciliation between the ethnic groups.

In a statement published in all local media, he says religous and racist fears have grown since the election last year, and been compounded by the Government's racist policies.

The Archbishop has condemned the country's leaders for vilifying members of other ethnic groups, using what he calls hate language.

Archbishop Mataca also says those behind the country's several coups to come forward.

"Those who are responsible for the coups must be humble and courageous enough to identify themseles, tell us that they are the ones, and it is only when that happens that we can move forward in our reconciliation."