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Chief of Cawaro Village takes enforcement into own

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, January 31, 2009) – Fiji’s Methodist Church has differed with the chief of a village who imposed a ban, restricting movement on Sundays so his people would attend church.

According to a media report, Isei Vosadrau, the chief of Cawaro Village at Udu Point on Vanua Levu, has even stopped people from traveling and doing other activities except to attend the local Methodist Church.

Church President Ame Tugawe told Fijilive that Vosadrau had gone to the extreme.

"The Bible describes Sunday as the Sabbath and people are not allowed to work, but people could be allowed to visit the sick, travel and help the poor too," he said.

However, he said on this day people should not be allowed to do farming and fishing.

Citizens Constitutional Forum chief executive officer Reverend Akuila Yabaki adds that the practice of the Sunday Ban was removed in Fiji because it was interfering in people’s lives, restricting people’s movements and choice of activities.

"The new Sunday Ban has created problems for people from Cawaro Village at Udu Point. Students have not been able to go to school," he said, in reference to a report that villagers aren’t able to leave the remote village on Sunday to prepare for school the following day.

Rev. Yabaki said CCF is particularly appalled that the chief is enforcing the Sunday Ban because he wants to force the people of his village to go to church.

"Religious beliefs and practices are a matter of choice. We are free to choose to follow a religion," he said

"We are also free to choose not to follow religious practices. This is guaranteed through the clause on Freedom of Religion and Belief in our Constitution."

He added that they are concerned that economic activity and people’s movement have been restricted because of this Sunday Ban.

"This is a violation of Freedom of Movement and the Right to Life and Liberty," he said.

No comments could be obtained from the village chief at this stage.


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