14 May 2014

Call to review Vanuatu sex crime laws

3:33 pm on 14 May 2014

A former president of Vanuatu's National Council of Women is calling for the government to review the laws on sexual offences.

A recent case involving the gang rape of a young woman from Tanna has sparked heated debate over how charges of sexual assault are handled.

The victim and her local chief asked prosecutors to drop the charges because the six alleged rapists had performed a customary settlement.

Prosecutors say the customary settlement could help reduce sentencing terms but they will not drop the charges.

Marina Pakete says it's absurd.

"They have to revise the law because you could see for yourself inside the police station that we have many case of rape inside the police station. Something is wrong and the parliament has to revise the law and get this more stronger to make people fear. They must not go beyond the boundary of others. I urge the International Human Rights to get inside and push the government to revisit its law."

Women's rights activists in Vanuatu, Manina Pakete