30 May 2005

Vanuatu chiefs deny opposition to Family Protection Bill

4:09 pm on 30 May 2005

Vanuatu's National Council of Chiefs denies that it is opposed to the Family Protection Bill due to be discussed in parliament this week.

The bill, which has been waiting to be tabled on and off since the mid-1990s, aims to provide avenues of protection for society's vulnerable.

However, the Council's secretary general, Selwyn Garu, says reports that the Chiefs have been lobbying parliamentarians to again shelve the bill are incorrect.

He says the Chiefs are not opposed to the Family Protection Bill.

"What we are saying is that there's another Bill that is coming up sometime later this year, and it's called the Chiefs Bill. Now what we'd like to see is that the two bills should go together. We do not want to have a situation where some of the sections in the Chiefs Bill would be contradictory, in a way, toward this in the Family Protection Bill."

Selwyn Garu says the Chiefs understand the frustration felt because of lengthy delays surrounding the Family Protection Bill, but are concerned that a bill dealing with such an important part of society is not rushed through.