13 May 2011

Vanuatu at societal crossroads says human rights activist

8:22 am on 13 May 2011

A Vanuatu human rights activist and one of the recipients of this year's International Women of Courage awards says her society is at a crossroads in terms of the retention of traditional values.

Jenny Ligo was presented with the United States State Department award in Port Vila by the US ambassador to Papua New Guinea this week.

Ms Ligo, who is the chairwoman of Women Against Crime, says urbanisation, high living costs, unemployment, drugs and alcohol are all contributing to the high level of violent assaults on women and children in Vanuatu.

Ms Ligo says before their exposure to Western lifestyles families cared more for each other.

"They want to live a Western life which is a competing society which I think many ni-Vanuatu, it's now come to a crossroad where people need to weigh the situation carefully, not to sidetrack from what they have brought up with."