Religious schools that receive public aid may not limit hiring and promotions to members of their own faith, a court in Fiji has ruled.

The Court of Appeal overturned a lower court ruling and held that Vatuvonu Seventh-day Adventist College must make decisions about whom to appoint and promote based on merit, not religion, reported the Fiji Sun.

The court held that Fiji’s 2013 constitution protects human rights and secularism. The country’s constitution holds that church and state are separate and says in part, “The State and all persons holding public office must not prefer or advance, by any means, any particular religion, religious denomination, religious belief, or religious practice over another, or over any non-religious belief.”

Fiji’s attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, welcomed the ruling, saying, “This decision vindicates government’s position that appointments in the public service must be based on merit and merit alone, and that no one must be discriminated against on the basis of his or her faith or religion or any other prohibited ground of discrimination.”

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