Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Comply with the Rule of Law, authorities told

The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (HRADC) says Government departments and state officials dealing with the Grace Road Group matter should comply with the Rule of Law.

HRADC chair Pravesh Sharma said they have received a complaint from members of the Grace Road Church in relation to the manner in which some of their members were taken into custody by state officials, use of force during detainment, denial of access to a lawyer while detained at the Suva Remand Centre; and the Church being labelled as a cult.

He said one member was also allegedly denied a visa to re-enter Fiji.

“Persons awaiting deportation should be kept in Immigration Safehouses rather than at remand centres since they have not been charged with offences.”

“Detained persons should have access to their lawyers and to other Human Rights Defenders.

Sharma said the Grace Road Church members facing deportation must be given the right to challenge their detention and deportation and they have a legitimate expectation that their rights will be complied with.

“Section 13(1)(i) of the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji allows detained persons to challenge the lawfulness of their detention before a court, and if their detention is unlawful, to be released.”

“The Grace Road Church members should not be deported until the final Appellate Court hears and determines the matter.”

“That is, all avenues of appeal or review should first be exhausted.”

He said the Commission is also concerned over the use of the word, ‘cult’ to describe the Grace Road Church as the word can be viewed as derogatory.

“Section 22 of the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji ensures all persons the right to freedom of religion, conscience and belief.”

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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