19 Feb 2007

Samoan specialist speaks of changes provoking clashes between individual and social rights

6:17 am on 19 February 2007

A Wellington-based academic says increasingly social change in Samoa is likely to provoke clashes between individual and social rights.

The comments come as a member of parliament, MP Siloto Tolo Tua'ifaiva, was ostracised from his village for a statement he made during a court hearing.

Although village matais have the right to ban people from their village according to the Village Fono Act, the practice seems to become more frequent.

The head of Samoan studies at Wellington's Victoria University, Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin, says conflict due to social change seems unavoidable.

"Obviously there is going to be a lot more clashes if people stand up for their human rights or personal rights and then they will find that they will clash with the social etiquette and peace and harmony of the village."

The Samoa government appointed a Commission of Inquiry to review the act last year.