Opinion: a call for a tolerant, understanding and caring Vanuatu

A call for a tolerant, understanding and caring Vanuatu

By Michael Taurakoto

MP Andrew Napuat’s recent statement on the supremacy of Christian principles in Vanuatu society raises important issues that leaders throughout Vanuatu should deliberate and consider carefully.

It is true that the founding fathers and mothers of this country were primarily Christian. This is a testament to the important role Christian churches played in educating and training the leaders that would take the then colony of New Hebrides to independence in 1980.

It is understandable then that our national motto and the preamble to our Constitution make specific reference to God as the inspiration behind the struggle for political independence and freedom.

What is also true is that these same founding fathers and mothers crafted and enacted a Constitution which guarantees fundamental individual rights and freedom from discrimination on the basis of, among other things, religious beliefs.

Today, Vanuatu is a diverse country. While Christianity is still the dominant religion, making up 82.4% of the population (2009 Census), we have to acknowledge that the rest of the population, totalling over 40,000 citizens, do not necessarily share the same Christian beliefs as the majority of us. Read the rest of this entry »


Vanuatu’s first adoption law will put childrens’ interests first, says Justice Minister

File image of a newborn baby sleeping in a Vanuatu hospital. Photo: Connor Ashleigh/DFAT

File image of a newborn baby sleeping in a Vanuatu hospital. Photo: Connor Ashleigh/DFAT

Justice Minister Warsal has initiated the drafting of Vanuatu’s first adoption law. “We need a law which suits the local context and addresses the real interests of our children”, Minister Warsal told VBTC News today. The new Bill will likely be debated in November.

Vanuatu does not currently have its own specific legislation covering adoption, and currently uses the UK’s Adoption Act of 1958. And Vanuatu is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Read the rest of this entry »


Standing up to be counted: Women of Vanuatu demanding their place in the political life of the nation

Too often disenfranchised by culture… women voters during Vanuatu's 2016 General Election. Photo: Commonwealth Secretariat

Disenfranchised by culture… women voters during Vanuatu’s 2016 General Election. Photo: Commonwealth Secretariat

“Respect”, as Father Walter Lini famously said, “is honourable”. But despite the enormous social, economic and cultural contributions they make every day, Vanuatu’s women are rarely given the respect they deserve; they continue to be shut out of political life. And yet, as the scandals of the last 12 months have shown, Vanuatu urgently needs better, more representative political leadership. Vanuatu’s full potential can only be realized when it has a gender-balanced leadership that includes, respects and values the enriching perspectives that women bring to political life. Today, on International Womens’ Day, we bring you the powerful story of a Vanuatu woman leader’s journey as she stands up for the right to take part in politics.

Read the rest of this entry »