6 Dec 2007

Former Samoa Cabinet Minister says violence around land title disputes increasing

11:14 am on 6 December 2007

A former Samoa cabinet minister says extreme violence around land title disputes is increasing.

A commission of inquiry has returned a report which looks at the compatibility of village councils and the formal courts.

Its recommendations include introducing mediation for land disputes at a village level.

The Commission's chair, Ulu Tuilagi Vaomalo Ulu Kini, says this would reduce conflict.

He says currently, people who challenge village council decisions in the formal courts can face severe retribution from their villages.

"It's bad. It's really bad. People with their anxiety, they can use whatever they can use. Rocks, stones, knives, etcetera, you name it. Burning down houses, you know. Simply because of that."

Ulu Tuilagi says a mediator would need to be familiar with the country's Constitution and Samoan customs and traditions.