13 May 2014

Vanuatu rape charges must go to court - activist

7:38 pm on 13 May 2014

A former president of Vanuatu's National Council of Women believes the victim of a gang rape in Tanna was pressured by her family and local chief to withdraw the charges against her alleged rapists.

The 28 year old victim, alongside her chief, walked into the prosecutors' office last week with two letters asking for charges to be dropped.

The chief argued the men did not deserve to be punished twice after already undergoing a custom punishment.

Manina Pakete says that's not enough.

"It is against the human rights of this girl. And especially when she's in the state of this situation, I believe she was pressured by the family. She's confused. She has to go to the Supreme Court for the judge to decide. And as far as I am concerned, there's a law for crimes inside Vanuatu. We have to enforce the law to punish the guys who practise the rape."

A women's rights activist in Vanuatu, Manina Pakete