15 Oct 2002

Fiji minister causes outrage

11:45 am on 15 October 2002

Fiji's minister for women, Adi Asenaca Caucau, says the weekend death of a 3-month old baby after it was punched by her drunken father happened because the couple were living in sin.

The comment enraged the Fiji Women's Rights Movement.

Its co-ordinator, Edwina Tikoisuva, has told Radio Fiji that the minister's moralistic approach is completely off track and not helping address the issue of domestic violence.

"What she's done is avoided the issue altogether which is the act of violence which has happened and blamed it on the fact that this couple was not legally married. What she doesn't quite understand, is the reality in which violence happens, that one does not neccessarily have to be married legally or otherwise for the violence to happen or not to happen and it happens just as much amongst legally married couples, as it does in defactor couples."

Edwina Kotoisuva from the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre.

The women's minister has been criticised recently for comparing Indo-Fijians with weeds which occupy space. and saying that poverty in Fiji is increasing because of satanic forces