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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 5) – A female lawmaker in Bougainville says a recent ban by local chiefs to stop women from wearing shorts "totally stinks."

Deputy Speaker of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Francisca Semoso said there are far more important issues for the country’s traditional leaders to tackle.

"Isn’t there anything better for the chiefs to talk about, like home brew that is killing people, mainly youth, and law and order issues? These are the things that the chiefs should be talking about," she said.

Ms Semoso said the International Human Rights laws say people have the freedom of choice and Bougainville is a part of the big world community, which means they also come under those international laws. She said the women have been wearing shorts for many years.

The chiefs last week said the ban would help reduce rape and sexual abuse in Bougainville.

But Semoso said whether women wore shorts, meri-blouse or long skirts or grass skirts they were still abused.

"Its got nothing to do with what women wear; its something to do with the way a man’s brain is conditioned,’ she said.

September 6, 2005

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