3 May 2008

Guadalcanal women block road in protest at logging

9:37 am on 3 May 2008

A group of women from Guadalcanal Province in the Solomon Islands have blocked the road to a logging camp on Mount Austin in protest against the use of their land.

A spokesperson for the women from Kakauvalimauvo Sub-tribe, Hilda Kii, says they're blocking the local road because destructive logging activities are being carried out uphill without consultation with the women.

The Solomon Star newspaper reports that since Guadalcanal is one of the provinces where women inherited land rights, the women's group claims any activity happening on their land must be made in consultation with them.

However, a timber operator cutting trees at Mt Austin, Jackson Dale, says there is no logging operation there, but instead small scale use of chainsaws to cut trees and milling timbers.

Mr Dale says the heavy plant machines are only used to clear the road for local operators to use.

He says that all activities are done with the approval of local chiefs, who he claims the women should be consulting before blocking the road.