History made as Vanuatu marches in opposition to violence against womenPosted: March 23, 2016
In an outpouring of popular protest today, several hundred women, men and children marched in Port Vila and Luganville to demand an end to violence against women in Vanuatu.
The marches was organised in response to the attack earlier this month on tourism industry worker Florence Lengkon, who was kidnapped and assaulted by seven men after she complained on social media about the aggressive behaviour of some bus and taxi drivers at Port Vila’s wharf.
In Port Vila, the protesters marched from the seafront to Parliament House, currently in session, where they met by MPs from Government and Opposition. At Parliament, Florence Lengkon presented a petition demanding stronger action against gender-based violence to Minister for Justice Hon. Ronald Warsal.
The protesters in Vila included members of the general public, representatives from NGOs, womens’ groups, Government departments and staff from numerous local businesses who were given time off work to attend the march. Law students from the University of the South Pacific’s Emalus campus also joined in, as did local Pacific communities. The Tongan community’s group was led by a royal visitor, the Hon. Alematea, son of Princess Fusipalo.
Late this afternoon, Vanuatu’s Parliament passed a motion to adopt Commonwealth parliamentary procedure and allow the petition to be presented, and in a first for the country, the petition has just been read out inside Parliament.