19 Mar 2014

Vanuatu's council of women rejects stricter penalties on mothers call

6:18 am on 19 March 2014

Vanuatu's council of women is rejecting a call from a Tanna chief for stricter penalties on mothers who kill their new born babies.

The Independent reports the chief, Malcolm Raymond, says the killing of new borns is a growing issue and needs to be immediately addressed.

He says causes are poverty, a lack of orphanages, psychological distress in pregnant mothers, and a failure to utilise family planning services.

But the council's president, Blandine Boulekone, says women are being unfairly blamed and ostracized by the community.

"They find themselves alone. We don't have any office to help them, we don't have anything. Welfare is not very well developed. When you have the full community, and the backing of the people it is okay, they could manage."

Blandine Boulekone says an attitude change is needed in Vanuatu to take the blame off women.