19 Mar 2012

UN rapporteur encourages programmes for Solomon Island women

1:03 pm on 19 March 2012

The UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women says one of the main challenges identified during her visit to Solomon Islands is the limited avenues for justice available to women who are victims of violence.

Rashida Manjoo says the Penal Code only refers to some forms of domestic violence, and marital rape is not criminalized by law.

Ms Manjoo, who met with government officials, civil society organisations and representatives of UN agencies, says even when legislation is available, implementation remains a challenge.

Ms Manjoo says according to official figures, 64 per cent of women aged 15-49, who have ever been in a relationship, have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner.

She says she also received information indicating that violence against women starts at a young age.

She says she had also heard alarming reports of young girls being abused by employees of fishing and logging companies in remote areas of the country.

Rashida Manjoo says the government has taken some positive steps to promote women's human rights and develop policies towards the elimination of violence against them.

But she says the government, and development partners, need to launch more specific programmes targeting women and their right to development, as well as their right to a life free from violence.

Ms Manjoo now heads to Papua New Guinea.