17 Dec 2002

Fiji's Methodist church opposes UN covnentions on women's and children's rights

8:27 am on 17 December 2002

Fiji's powerful Methodist church has taken a strong stand against legalising the UN Convention on Children's Rights and the elimination of discrimination against women.

The Fiji Times reports the church's opposition hs been expressed by a former fundamentalist president, the Reverend Manasa Lasaro.

Mr Lasaro says Fiji should oppose these conventions because some of their provisions are against indigenous Fijian culture and some are even against the Christian faith.

He says the church believes that Fiji's proposed Family Law Bill cannot create a level playing field by favouring only women.

Mr Lasaro says the Bill grants equal rights to both sexes in matters of marriage, divorce and family property.

He says if this happens, it would destroy the Fijian tradition of a patriarchal society.

Mr Lasaro says the church also believes that the Family Law Bill is against the God-given order that men are head of their families.

He says the children's rights contravene Fijian tradition that even members of extended families can inflict corporal punishment on children to instill discipline.