19 Aug 2014

Vanuatu chiefs want marital rape dealt with under custom law

7:46 am on 19 August 2014

Chiefs in Vanuatu are criticising police for going against custom law and arresting a man for allegedly raping his wife.

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Photo: RNZ

A Tanna chief living in Port Vila, Malcom Raymond, made the statement after police charged and remanded a 27-year-old Tanna man on rape charges.

The Vanuatu Independent says the man also allegedly assaulted his wife with a bush knife.

Chief Raymond says the arrest is an abuse of Tanna's custom laws and the matter must be returned for the chiefs to deal with.

He says custom practice is that women are ordered to obey their husbands as the heads of the family.

Mr Raymond says custom court recognises every offence with its own penalty and it is taboo to dig inside a family's personal issues.

Last year a judge sentenced a man to 10 years jail in the country's first conviction for marital rape.