19 Sep 2002

Catholic archbishop of Fiji criticises hate language used by politicians

4:14 pm on 19 September 2002

The Catholic Archbishop of Fiji says the country has no hope of reconciling its ethnic groups unless there is an acknowledgement of the pain suffered during a May 2000 coup.

Archbishop Petero Mataca says he wonders how the victims and the perpetrators of the coup live alongside one another unless those involved confess their guilt or give signs of repentance.

He says unless Fiji faces the truth that its society is racist and religiously intolerant, there can be no justice and therefore no healing.

The Archbishop says religious and racial fear had increased since last year's general elections, and this has been compounded by government policies of racial exclusion and domination.

He has condemned remarks by political and community leaders, who have used Bible verses to support views that breed religious and racial hatred.

Archbishop Mataca says he sees no reason for Fiji's political leaders to use the hate language or in any other way vilify members of other ethnic groups unless they deliberately intend to hurt others and damage good relationships.

He says Fiji's leaders must not incite racial and religious hatred and intolerance, or misinform or misguide the people.