11 Sep 2006

Male dominance in ownership of land discussed in Fiji

10:45 am on 11 September 2006

Male dominance over land ownership in the Pacific Islands is to be the focus of a national conference in Fiji starting today.

The three-day seminar will address discrimination against women wanting to inherit or own cultural land, or buy property.

Forty participants from civil society orgnisations, church groups, government departments and other stakeholders are meeting in Suva over the issue.

One of the organisers, the Fiji Women's Rights Movement, says the aim is to raise awareness about the problem.

The NGO's director, Virisila Buadromo, says access to land is a major obstacle for women.

"Women did not have the right to be able to inherit land or to own land, cultural land. And then there's also the issue in terms of buying land, to get a loan from the bank is also an issue because you need your husband or a male person in your family to support or provide colateral or to guarantee your loan to be able to get access to buy that land."

Ms Buadromo says a human rights toolkit for stakeholders, developed by the Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team and the UNDP, will be trialled in Fiji, Tonga and Kiribati.