30 Apr 2002

A Fijian women's organisation has condemned government moves to stop married women working overseas

10:14 am on 30 April 2002

A row has broken out in Fiji between women's organisations and the assistant minister for women, Losena Salabula.

Ms Salabula has told the National Council of Women that women should stop leaving their homes to go and work overseas as this was one of the reasons for the increasing incidence of incest and child abuse by fathers.

She said she was asking the US embassy in Suva to stop issuing visas to women who wanted to work as caregivers.

But the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre has hit out at the assistant minister accusing her of trying to take away women's freedom.

Its spokesperson, Edwina Kotoisuva, says women cannot be blamed for the actions of the perpetrators of sexual abuse.

Ms Kotoisuva says she would like to know how the assistant minister made the correlation between going to the United states and cases in incest.

She says marriage is about partnership and when one person leaves, the other should be in charge which does not mean abusing the children.