Vanuatu May Be ‘Forced’ To Consider Death Penalty: Minister

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Justice official appeals to community to stop ‘senseless’ killings

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, July 3, 2013) – Senseless killings such as the brutal murder of a young pregnant woman at Etas outside of Port Vila last Saturday morning must stop or it could lead Vanuatu’s Government to institute a death penalty, the Minister of Justice and Community Services Silas Yatan has warned.

Minister Yatan issued the warning while commenting on the murder of the 21-year-old woman who was 8 months pregnant by her live-in lover before he left Monday morning to hold discussions on the matter with the Nikoletan Council of Chiefs on Tanna.

The young couple involved in the case came from Whitesand, the same area of Tanna as Minister Yatan.

He expressed grave concern at such taking of the life of another human being.

He said this could have a negative bearing on the development of the country, which he said has enjoyed a high level of assistance from donor partners, as Vanuatu has ratified a number of UN conventions on human rights including the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

The Minister for Justice and Community Services warned that if this kind of attitude increased, the Government could be forced to consider enacting a law on the death penalty such as that in Papua New Guinea, so as to stem this type of behavior.

He appealed to the parents, the chiefs and the church leaders to work to stop such senseless behavior and attitude.

He said women are human beings, not animals and they should at all times be treated with dignity and respect.

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