WALLIS AND FUTUNA WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION DETERMINED TO STOP DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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NOUMEA, New Caledonia (March 8, 2000 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---The Association of Women from Wallis and Futuna Residing in New Caledonia has embarked in a campaign to stop domestic violence against their community’s members, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

With the primary aim of breaking taboos, a committee of the association has started touring New Caledonia to meet with Wallisian and Futunian women and hear accounts of their day-to-day experiences related to domestic violence and abuse.

"Recently, more women from the new generation, that is in the 20-40 age group, have now joined our association," domestic violence sub-committee chairwoman Patricia Jacquin said.

From a more traditional, artistic and cultural emphasis when it was first set up a few years ago, the association has now assumed a broader role involving contemporary issues.

Apart from domestic violence, another committee focuses on AIDS.

"We want to break the taboos which are still subsiding in our mentalities. We want to tell the women of our community that there are laws and that these laws are made to protect them," Association President Elisapeta Taofifenua said.

 

WALLIS AND FUTUNA TERRITORIAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS VISIT NEW CALEDONIA OVER BI-TERRITORIAL AGREEMENT

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (March 8, 2000 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---Wallis and Futuna’s territorial assembly representatives arrived early this week in New Caledonia to initiate talks that could lead to political agreements, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The six-member delegation, which is led by Territorial Assembly President Soané Uhila, already has met with the French High Commissioner (the French State’s representative in New Caledonia), Thierry Lataste.

Under the Noumea Accords, which were signed in May 1998, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna are to enter into an official bi-territorial political agreement before March 31, 2000.

The Noumea Accords pave the way for gradual autonomy and a transfer of power from the French State to New Caledonia, with a referendum on independence possible in "15 to 20 years."

One clause pertains to Wallis and Futuna, under the heading, "New Caledonia and Dependencies."

"Among our main concerns are employment opportunities and freedom of movement between our two territories," Uhila said.

"In addition, under the Nouméa Accord, local government services are to be created (in New Caledonia). We want to see how the (French) State can contribute to the funding of the same services in Wallis."

The legislative delegation has made plans to meet with a wide range of the political, social and civil society spectrum during its stay in New Caledonia.

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