16 Feb 2005

Fiji women's activist brands laws sexist

10:29 am on 16 February 2005

The co-ordinator of Fiji's Women's Crisis Centre has branded the country's laws dealing with sex crimes and domestic violence as sexist.

Shamima Ali made the comment after a High Court judge, Justice Nazhat Shameem, told a regional conference on violence against women that the country's judiciary is blind to female victims of violence.

Ms Ali says the law ignores the plight of women.

"They are not at all gender sensitised, there is a lot of sexism within our laws, as far as rape laws are concerned, domestic violence goes, the treatment of women victims of violence, the double standards that are employed, these are very much part and parcel of the judiciary."

Ms Ali says police officers are also guilty of domestic violence and are then reluctant to investigate domestic abuse cases reported to them.

The week-long regional conference in Suva has attracted 35 participants from around the Pacific.