The Constitution states that Fiji is a secular state and makes a strict distinction between state and religion. Everyone’s freedom of religion is guaranteed. Almost all Fijians and Rotumans are Christians, while most Indians are Hindus.
Before the British arrived in Fiji, the residents practiced a religion based on religious belief and ancestral worship. After the introduction of British rule in 1874, the country quickly became Christian. Nowadays, four-fifths of the Ethiopian and Rotuman people are Methodists. The second largest Christian group is Catholics.
The Methodist Church (Fiji’s Methodist Church) has been politically influential. It provided support for Fijinationalist movements and supported the military coups in 1987 and 2000 (see Modern History). In contrast, the church criticized the 2006 coup-maker, which led to the Bainimarama regime back in 2009 by temporarily arresting church leaders and banning certain gatherings. The same year, “a New Methodist Church” was founded by Atu Vulaono, brother of Police Chief Esala Teleni, who, on the order of the regime, stopped the Methodists’ annual meeting. However, the regular Methodist Church received support, even financially, from Methodists in the USA and Australia, among others.
In addition to Hindus, Indians also include Muslims and a small group of Sikhs.
- Countryaah: Population statistics for 2020 and next 30 years in Fiji, covering demographics, population graphs, and official data for growth rates, population density, and death rates.
Accusations of torture
The human rights organization Amnesty International urges the government not to allow soldiers to do police duties, as several reports have come of torture against civilians detained.
Bainimarama becomes Foreign Minister
In a government reform, Prime Minister Bainimarama also takes over the post of Foreign Minister. He replaces Ratu Inoke Kubuabola who instead becomes defense minister.
Fiji takes out a loan from the World Bank
Partly as a result of cyclone Winston’s progress, Fiji takes out a $ 50 million loan from the World Bank. It is the country’s first loan with the International Mortgage Institute in 23 years and the money will be used to improve transport systems and other infrastructure on the islands.
First, by ratifying the UN climate agreement
Fiji becomes the first country in the world to formally adopt the UN climate agreement when the Fijian parliament ratifies the so-called Paris Agreement.
An emergency permit is introduced
An emergency permit is introduced to facilitate rescue work after the Winston cyclone. Emergency aid is flown in from Australia, New Zealand, India and the EU. The airport is kept open to receive emergency aid to the country and to evacuate tourists.
Worst cyclone ever strikes Fiji
With wind speeds of up to 200 meters per second and 12 meters high waves, the cyclone Winston pulls over Fiji. Forty-three people perish and the material damage is extensive. Entire villages are level with the ground. Nearly 60,000 people are forced to take refuge in evacuation centers. In total, about 350,000 people are estimated to be affected by the natural disaster.
Jioji Konrote is elected new president
Parliament elects Jioji Konrote as new president. He has previously been a minister in the government of Bainimarama and has a military career behind him.
Suspected separatists arrested
Police are reported to have arrested more than 50 people suspected of trying to establish a Christian outbreak state on the main island of Viti Levu.
Damages for radioactive radiation
Fijian veterans receive financial compensation from Britain for being exposed to radioactive radiation from British nuclear weapons tests on Christmas Island in the late 1950s.