7 Jul 2008

Vanuatu watchdog queries delay on new domestic violence bill

8:03 pm on 7 July 2008

Transparency International in Vanuatu says it's shocked the President hasn't yet approved of a bill to protect children and women against domestic violence.

The Family Protection Bill was passed by Parliament about four weeks ago, but President Kalkot Mataskelekele, says he needs to check if it's against the country's customs and the constitution.

Transparency International's President, Marie-Noelle

Ferrieux-Paterson, says this comes as a surprise.

"The president at the moment is checking that it's not inconsistent with the constitution. And that came to Transparency International as a shock, because it's quite a straight forward bill to sign, it would be very hard to be in contradiction with any type of Westminster Constitution."

Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Paterson says there is no debate about the extent of domestic violence, and there's need for more work to educate the communities on this issue.

The legislation has polarised public opinion, with some groups, such as the Great Council of Chiefs, opposing it.