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Fiji: Christianity

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 12th December 2011.

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Photo of Mark Pritchard Mark Pritchard Conservative, The Wrekin

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of closures of Methodist churches in Fiji; and if he will raise the issue of religious freedom and freedom of speech with the Government of Fiji.

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The British Government are deeply concerned by reports of restrictions on the rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and freedom of association being placed upon members of the Methodist Church in Fiji. The right to assemble peacefully is at the heart of a functioning democracy and helps to improve long-term social, political and economic stability.

On 12 October, I expressed my dismay to the Fijian high commissioner to London at these developments and noted that this latest action by the authorities in Fiji could only serve to increase their isolation from the international community. The UK Government will continue to raise our concerns with the interim government, including the need to lift the public emergency restrictions in early 2012. We will continue to work closely with international partners to return Fiji to democracy.

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