Vanuatu women unite to end violence, stage public rally

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Supporters sign the "Stop violence against women" petition before today's protest march in Port Vila. Image: Vanuatu Daily Post

Women in Vanuatu’s capital have banned together to call for an end to violence against women.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reported that a  “Stop violence against women” parade planned for Port Vila today brought together women from microfinance businesses, NGOs, the formal employment sector, church and women in the informal employment sector.

Together they were presenting petitions to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Alfred Maoh, and the Minister of Justice and Social Welfare, Ronald Warsal, at Vanuatu’s Parliamentary Complex.

The peaceful protest comes after the recent abduction and abuse of local female tourism manager, Florence Lengkon and coincides with the first sitting of the country’s new Parliament.

It was organised by a committee led by the Deputy Lord Mayor, Leimara Malachai and the President of the Women Against Crime and Corruption, Jenny Viregagaru Ligo.

In a statement published by the Daily Post, the commitee said: “We must lift our voices and ask that men listen to our petition and stop violence in Vanuatu. We women have human rights also. We are also born as human beings and we plead that you give us due honour and respect when dealing with us.

“We call on the Vanuatu government to deal with the perpetrators of Florence Leingkone. We also ask the Vanuatu government to investigate the killings at the Tebakor/Seven Star Dark Corner.”

-Partners-

The Stop Violence against Women Organising Committee is concerned with the constant cases of domestic and physical violence against women in Vanuatu.

In spite of the passing of the Family Protection Act 28 of 2008, the brutal killing of innocent victims and the battering of women, spouses and girls in Vanuatu has continued.

According to the Daily Post, Vanuatu acceded to the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (UNCEDAW) in 1995, but the Pacific nation continues to discover serious cases of domestic and physical violence.

The committee’s petition is asking for the support of international and local audiences.

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