2 Aug 2019

Call for Fiji PM's permanent secretary to resign over Grace Road links

1:20 pm on 2 August 2019

An opposition leader in Fiji is calling for the prime minister's permanent secretary to resign over the government's links to the Grace Road church.

Shin Ok-ju, the founder of Grace Road Church, who was arrested in South Korea, accused of enslaving some 400 followers in Fiji.

Shin Ok-ju, the founder of Grace Road Church, who was arrested in South Korea, accused of enslaving some 400 followers in Fiji. Photo: Grace Road Church

Its leader was jailed by a South Korean court this week for enslaving hundreds of followers in Fiji.

The court said the cult's followers had to endure forced labour at Grace Road's businesses across Fiji, some of which hold lucrative government contacts.

When Shin Ok-ju was arrested last July, the permanent secretary, Yogesh Karan, said there was no reason to investigate Grace Road's activities in Fiji.

The leader of the Sodelpa party, Sitiveni Rabuka, says Mr Karan overstepped his authority in making those comments.

Mr Rabuka also accused the government of turning a blind eye to Grace Road to preserve business links.

He said as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, the government should do more to investigate concerns about modern-day slavery in Fiji.

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