VANUATU
Republic of Vanuatu
Ripablik blong Vanuatu
Joined United Nations:  15 September 1981
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
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Updated 19 November 2012
CAPITAL
POPULATION
CHIEF OF STATE
SELECTION PROCESS
Port-Vila (on Efate)
256,155 (July 2012 est.)
Iolu Johnson Abbil
President since 02 September 2009
President elected for a five-year term by an electoral college
consisting of Parliament and the presidents of the regional
councils; election for president last held 02 September 2009

Next scheduled election: 2014
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
SELECTION PROCESS
Ham Lini Vanuaroroa
Deputy Prime Minister since 26 June 2011
following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or
majority coalition usually elected prime minister by parliament
from among its members; election for prime minister held on 26
June 2011 following a supreme court decision nullifying
KILMAN's December 2010 election; Election last held 30
October 2012

Next scheduled election: October 2016
DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
ETHNIC GROUPS
Ni-Vanuatu 98.5%, other 1.5% (1999 Census)
RELIGIONS
Presbyterian 31.4%, Anglican 13.4%, Roman Catholic 13.1%, Seventh-Day Adventist 10.8%, other Christian
13.8%, indigenous beliefs 5.6% (including Jon Frum cargo cult), other 9.6%, none 1%, unspecified 1.3% (1999
Census)
GOVERNMENT
STRUCTURE
Parliamentary republic with 6 provinces.  Legal system is a unified system being created from former dual French and
British systems
Executive: President elected for a five-year term by an electoral college consisting of Parliament and the presidents of
the regional councils; election for president last held 02 September 2009 (next to be held in 2014);following legislative
elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually elected prime minister by parliament from among
its members; election for prime minister held on 26 June 2011 following a supreme court decision nullifying KILMAN's
December 2010 election; KILMAN defeated Vohor SERGE 29 to 23 (election last held 30 October 2012); Next
scheduled election: October 2016
Legislative: Unicameral Parliament (52 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 30 October 2012); Next scheduled election: October 2016
Judicial: Supreme Court (chief justice is appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the
leader of the opposition, three other justices are appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial Service
Commission)
LANGUAGES
Local languages (more than 100) 72.6%, pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama) 23.1%, English 1.9%, French
1.4%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.7% (1999 Census)
BRIEF HISTORY
The history of Vanuatu begins obscurely. The commonly held theory of Vanuatu's prehistory from archaeological
evidence supports that peoples speaking Austronesian languages first came to the islands some 4,000 years ago.
Pottery fragments have been found dating back to 1300 B.C. What little is known of the pre-European contact history
of Vanuatu has been gleaned from oral histories and legends. One important early king was Roy Mata, who united
several tribes, and was buried in a large mound with several retainers. The first island in the Vanuatu group discovered
by Europeans was Espiritu Santo, when in 1606 the Portuguese explorer, Pedro Fernández de Quirós, spied what he
thought was a southern continent. Europeans did not return until 1768, when Louis Antoine de Bougainville
rediscovered the islands. In 1774, Captain Cook named the islands the New Hebrides, a name that lasted until
independence. In 1825, trader Peter Dillon's discovery of sandalwood on the island of Erromango began a rush that
ended in 1830 after a clash between immigrant Polynesian workers and indigenous Melanesians. During the 1860s,
planters in Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, and the Samoa Islands, in need of laborers, encouraged a long-term
indentured labor trade called "blackbirding." At the height of the labor trade, more than one-half the adult male
population of several of the Islands worked abroad. It was at this time that missionaries, both Roman Catholic and
Protestant, arrived on the islands. Settlers also came, looking for land on which to establish cotton plantations. When
international cotton prices collapsed, they switched to coffee, cocoa, bananas, and, most successfully, coconuts.
Initially, British subjects from Australia made up the majority, but the establishment of the Caledonian Company of the
New Hebrides in 1882 soon tipped the balance in favor of French subjects. By the turn of the century, the French
outnumbered the British two to one. The jumbling of French and British interests in the islands brought petitions for one
or another of the two powers to annex the territory. In 1906, however, France and the United Kingdom agreed to
administer the islands jointly. Called the British-French Condominium, it was a unique form of government, with
separate governmental systems that came together only in a joint court. Melanesians were barred from acquiring the
citizenship of either power. Challenges to this form of government began in the early 1940s. The arrival of Americans
during World War II, with their informal demeanor and relative wealth, was instrumental in the rise of nationalism in the
islands. The belief in a mythical messianic figure named John Frum was the basis for an indigenous cargo cult (a
movement attempting to obtain industrial goods through magic) promising Melanesian deliverance. Today, John Frum is
both a religion and a political party with two members in Parliament. The first political party was established in the early
1970s and originally was called the New Hebrides National Party. One of the founders was Father Walter Lini, who
later became Prime Minister. Renamed the Vanua'aku Party in 1974, the party pushed for independence; in 1980, the
Republic of Vanuatu was created. Iolu Abil was elected president on 02 September 2009 and Edward Natapei
became prime minister following legislative elections. In 2010 he was removed as a result of a non confidence vote and
Deputy Premier Sato Kilman was elevated as Prime Minister of a caretaker government. Legislative elections were held
on 30 October 2012 however, with over 30 parties and 346 candidates contesting for 52 seats, no clear majority had
been achieved. Negotiations are underway to create a coalition government.
Source:   Wikipedia History of Vanuatu
ECONOMIC OVERVIEW
This South Pacific island economy is based primarily on small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for about
two-thirds of the population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism, with nearly 197,000 visitors in 2008, are
other mainstays of the economy. Mineral deposits are negligible; the country has no known petroleum deposits. A small
light industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties. Economic development is
hindered by dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural disasters, and long distances from
main markets and between constituent islands. In response to foreign concerns, the government has promised to tighten
regulation of its offshore financial center. In mid-2002, the government stepped up efforts to boost tourism through
improved air connections, resort development, and cruise ship facilities. Agriculture, especially livestock farming, is a
second target for growth. Australia and New Zealand are the main suppliers of tourists and foreign aid.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Vanuatu)
POLITICAL CLIMATE
Following parliamentary elections on November 30, 1995, Carlot Korman was succeeded by Serge Vohor, a dissident
UMP leader. Over the next 2 years, government leadership changed several times due to unstable coalitions within the
Parliament. In November 1997, the President dissolved Parliament. Following the subsequent election on March 6,
1998, Donald Kalpokas, the leader of the Vanua'aku Pati, was elected prime minister. A vote of no confidence in
November 1999 brought Barak Sopé to the fore as Prime Minister. Yet another vote of no confidence resulted in the
selection of Edward Natapei as Prime Minister in March 2001. Edward Natapei returned as Prime Minister in the May
2002 national parliamentary elections. In 2004, Natapei dissolved parliament, and following another national election in
July of that year, Vohor became Prime Minister again when two members of the Vanu'aku Party defected to join a new
coalition. Vohor is under heavy fire by the Parliament for establishing diplomatic relation without consulting the
Parliament and its Council of Minister decided to revoke such relation and as a signature move, remove the flag of
Republic of China displayed in the capitol. A Motion of No Confidence was called by the Parliament, and on
December 11, Vohor was replaced as Prime Minister by Ham Lini.

In March 2004 the term of office of President John Bani expired, and Alfred Maseng Nalo was elected in his place. It
was soon discovered that Nalo was a criminal and, at the time of his election, was serving a two year suspended
sentence for aiding and abetting, misappropriation, and receiving money dishonestly after money from the sale of cocoa
went missing. Had his conviction been known at the time of the election, Nalo's candidature would automatically have
been invalid. The electoral commission which supervises candidates and conducts background checks on candidates
did not detect the conviction because the police-issued certificate of previous offences had allegedly been completed
incorrectly (Port Vila Presse Online, 28 April 2004). Nalo refused to resign, but the Supreme Court ordered his
removal from office in May 2004, and the decision was subsequently confirmed by the Court of Appeal.

Following the 2008 parliamentary elections, the governing coalition was maintained, but Ham Lini was replaced as
prime minister by Edward Natapei. eEection for prime minister were held on 26 June 2011 following a supreme court
decision nullifying Kilman's December 2010 election; Kilman defeated Vohor SERGE 29 to 23. Legislative elections
were held on 30 October 2012 however, with over 30 parties and 346 candidates contesting for 52 seats, no clear
majority had been achieved. O
n 19 November Kilman was confirmed as Prime Minister naming Ham as his Deputy.
Source:
Wikipedia: Politics of Vanuatu
INTERNATIONAL
DISPUTES
Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by Vanuatu and France
U.S. State Department
United Nations Human
Rights Council
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
Freedom House
REFUGEES AND
INTERNALLY
DISPLACED PERSONS
(IDP)
None reported.
ILLICIT DRUGS
None reported.
Vanuatu Council of
Trade Unions
U. S. STATE
DEPARTMENT
HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
2011 Human Rights Report: Vanuatu
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012

Vanuatu is a multiparty parliamentary democracy with a freely elected government. Parliament reelected the current head of
government, Prime Minister Sato Kilman, in June after a court had annulled his December 2010 appointment to the same position.
The most recent national elections, held in September 2008, were considered generally free and fair. Security forces reported to
civilian authorities.

Violence against women remained one of the most prominent human rights abuses during the year.

The government continued to address human rights challenges including police violence, poor prison conditions, arrests without
warrants, an extremely slow judicial process, government corruption, and violence and discrimination against women.

Government efforts to prosecute and punish abuses by the police were minimally effective.
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UNITED NATIONS
HUMAN RIGHTS
COUNCIL
Vanuatu takes the lead
18 May 2010

In making the announcement that it will ratify the Convention on Torture by the end of the year, Vanuatu is following through on a
pledge it made before the international community last year. In May 2009, Vanuatu committed to ratification of the Convention at
the commencement of proceedings before the Universal Periodic Review – the UN process for reviewing the human rights
situations in all member States.

Vanuatu President, Iolu Abil meets UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak © OHCHRVanuatu will be the first Pacific
Island nation to ratify the Convention and it was also one of the first countries from the region to participate in the Universal
Periodic Review.

Confirmation of the decision to ratify the Convention by the end of 2010 was announced by the Ministry of Justice and Community
services, Bakoa Kaltongga at a meeting on the prevention of torture jointly organized by the Vanuatu Ministry of Justice and
Community Services and the UN Human Rights Regional Office for the Pacific.

In a statement to the meeting, Kaltongga acknowledged that torture occurs in all regions of the world. Some people, he said, think
torture as a form of punishment for misdeeds is permissible. “However, this way of thinking undermines the rule of law and the
dignity of our own Pacific people,” he said..

“In Vanuatu,” the Minister said, “a judge is not allowed to order beating or lashing or any physical harm. If a judge cannot order it,
then it is clear that a policeman or other official has no right to order or inflict such a punishment.”

The move by the Government of Vanuatu has been welcomed by Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture who also
attended the meeting. “The Pacific has the lowest ratification rates in the world on human rights treaties and the commitment of
Vanuatu to sign the Convention is encouraging,” he said.

Nowak said, “I believe Vanuatu can become a leader in the region on combating and preventing torture.”

The Convention against Torture was adopted unanimously by the General Assembly in 1984. States parties to the Convention are
required to outlaw torture, bring the perpetrators to justice and provide reparations to the victims.

The United Nations also takes action against torture in other ways. In 1981, the General Assembly established the United Nations
Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Torture and in 1985 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the precursor to today’
s Human Rights Council, appointed an independent expert, known as a Special Rapporteur to examine questions relevant to torture
and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
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FREEDOM HOUSE
Freedom In The World 2012 Report
Political Rights Score: 2
Civil Liberties Score: 2
Status: Free

Overview
Intense factional rivalries continued to fragment politics in 2011, resulting in three different prime ministers during the first six
months of the year. Although in November the World Trade Organization approved Vanuatu’s application to join the group,
Vanuatu’s parliament did not ratify the agreement by year’s end due to significant opposition from churches and civil society
groups.

Natapei was ousted by a no-confidence vote in December 2010, and replaced by Sato Kilman. On April 24, 2011, Kilman was
ousted by a 26 to 25 no-confidence vote, and the speaker of Parliament appointed Serge Vohor to replace him. Kilman asserted that
a minimum of 27 votes is required for his removal, and a court of appeal reinstalled Kilman as prime minister on May 13. On June
16, however, the Supreme Court declared Kilman’s election in 2010 null and void on the grounds that the speaker of Parliament
violated constitutional requirements to hold a secret parliamentary ballot. On the same day, the speaker named Natapei as interim
prime minister. The court also ordered a new parliamentary ballot to elect a new prime minister, and Kilman was chosen to another
term on June 26.

While the economy has improved somewhat in recent years, it has suffered setbacks amid global economic troubles. In July 2011,
Vanuatu asked China for $32 million to meet its budget shortfall in return for pledging to support China in the United Nations and
other international forums. Vanuatu threatened to switch formal recognition to Taiwan if China did not meet its demand. Shortly
thereafter, the Chinese ambassador to Vanuatu said China would pay a portion of this sum under the condition that Vanuatu
recognizes only China.

In November 2011, the World Trade Organization approved Vanuatu’s application to join the group. The decision was controversial
in Vanuatu due to concerns over the possible impact on the country’s poor, and churches and civil society groups held rallies
against the move. Parliament did not ratify the agreement by year’s end.

Vanuatu suffered a shortage of fresh drinking water in 2011 amid a sever drop in rainfall due to the La Niña weather pattern. The
United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security ranks Vanuatu as the Pacific island most at-risk of
natural disasters.
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AMNESTY
INTERNATIONAL
Vanuatu - Amnesty International Report 2010
Human Rights in REPUBLIC OF VANUATU
20 January 2011

Rural to urban migration led to a growth in informal settlements in Port Vila. Many of the settlements were overcrowded and had
inadequate access to clean water, sanitation and housing. Violence against women continued to increase, with perpetrators seldom
brought to justice.

Right to adequate housing
Increased rural to urban migration and a lack of employment opportunities forced many people to live in informal settlements in
Port Vila. Many of the settlements were overcrowded, had little or no access to clean water, no sanitation and poor housing
conditions. More than 500 people who lived in Seaside Togoa, a settlement in the middle of Port Vila, shared four toilets and two
showers. A number of other settlements in Port Vila, including Black Sands, Fresh Wota and Olen were badly overcrowded and
had poor public security, with many children not attending school. Many people from settlements had to scavenge in a rubbish
dump outside Port Vila for food, water and building materials.

Violence against women
Violence against women continued to increase. Perpetrators were seldom brought to justice due to a lack of police training on
domestic violence and on the provisions of the new Family Protection Act (FPA). The FPA, enacted by Parliament in June 2008,
was the first legislation on gender-based violence in the Pacific Islands. During a Universal Periodic Review in May, the
government committed itself to fully implementing the provisions of the FPA.

The government pledged to review its commitments under the UN Women’s Convention (CEDAW).
Amnesty International visit

Amnesty International delegates visited Vanuatu in August.
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HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Human Rights Watch Letter to Pacific Island Forum Leaders
August 1, 2009

Dear Leaders,

We write to urge you and other leaders attending the 40th Leaders' Meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Cairns from
August 5 to 6, 2009, to address the ongoing human rights violations in Fiji.[1]

At your 2004 meeting, PIF leaders issued a vision statement stating their objective to seek a Pacific region that is respected for its
“defense and promotion of human rights." This objective forms part of the good governance pillar of the Pacific Plan that was
endorsed by PIF leaders at their 2005 meeting. Using this vision as a basis, we urge PIF leaders to more strongly denounce the
ongoing violations of human rights in Fiji and identify solutions to tackle this serious problem.

We acknowledge that PIF leaders have taken a range of measures over the past two and a half years to try and convince Fiji to
return democratic governance in an acceptable time frame. The interim Fiji government ultimately dismissed these efforts, resulting
in Fiji’s suspension from the PIF on May 2, 2009. On suspending Fiji, PIF Chair Hon. Toke Talagi, Premier of Niue, said, “A
regime which displays such a total disregard for basic human rights, democracy and freedom has no place in the Pacific Islands
Forum.”

Meanwhile, Fiji’s interim government continues to commit numerous grave human rights abuses. Since the December 2006 military
coup, there have been four deaths in military or police custody[2] and dozens of people have been arbitrarily detained, sexually
assaulted, intimidated, beaten, or subjected to degrading treatment. For more information, please see: http://www.hrw.
org/en/news/2007/02/04/letter-interim-prime-minister-voreqe-bainimarama-and-president-ratu-josefa-iloilo-fi.

Since the interim government’s abrogation of the constitution on April 10, 2009, the interim administration has limited the
independence of the judiciary whilst intensifying violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly,
among others. Security forces have detained journalists, lawyers, and government critics, including the country’s highest chief, for
acts of peaceful assembly and free expression. Media is heavily censored. Courts have released military and police officers
convicted of crimes prior to completion of their sentences fueling impunity.  For more detail of the post-April 10 situation in Fiji
please refer to the attached annex.

These abuses have continued despite the promise of President Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda, in his April 10, 2009 address to the
nation, that basic rights would be protected under the new legal order. In his July 1, 2009 “Strategic Framework for Change”
statement, interim Prime Minister Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama outlined his vision of “adherence to the principles of the
rule of law, by putting in place sustainable institutions and laws that will create accountability, transparency, justice, fair play, and
modernity…”

Human Rights Watch urges you to hold Bainimarama to this vision. The people of Fiji cannot wait five years for his vision to be
realized and continue to suffer these serious human rights violations.

We ask that human rights be at the center of your discussions on Fiji at this Forum Leaders’ Meeting. Leaders of the Melanesian
Spearhead Group, comprised of the governments of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, failed to acknowledge
these human rights violations when considering the political situation in Fiji at its retreat on July 10, 2009. The Forum Leaders’
Meeting provides an opportunity to remedy this omission.  
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OFFICIAL
GOVERNMENT HUMAN
RIGHTS STATEMENT
20 May 2012
No more illegal Vanuatu citizenships

Prime Minister Sato Kilman has finally said enough is enough regarding the issuance of illegal Vanuatu citizenships to foreigners and
now Police are investigating the Citizenship Commission for alleged irregularities.

Daily Post understands nearly all the newly arrived Chinese in town are Vanuatu citizens although they have not lived in Vanuatu for
10 years, a statutory requirement to be eligible for Vanuatu citizenship.
Two men have been arrested recently by the Vanuatu Police Force and charged with obtaining citizenship by false and misleading
statement contrary to section 22 of the Citizenship Act 112.

There are a string of other suspects which Police have not yet arrested and calling on the members of the public to come with
information.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister’s Office would like to express serious concerns relating to approval and issuance of Citizenship
Permits to people who have not fulfilled the necessary requirements nor satisfied the legal criteria as stated in the Citizenship Act
and associated Regulations.

The Prime Minister’s Office understands that investigations are underway and there have been several arrests in order to identify
the source of the breaches of the Citizenship Act.

The Prime Minister’s office would like to state that this malpractice has been ongoing for many years and many previous
governments and politicians have conveniently turned a blind eye to this malpractice.

Such malpractices by the Citizenship Commission have seen an increase in the influx of foreigners and in many cases they come
and compete with Ni-Vanuatu for employment and business opportunities as well as facilities such as available commercial
financing support to establish businesses, etc.

It is suspected that many are able to acquire their citizenship permits without fulfilling the requirements of the Citizenship Act such
as the requirement to reside in Vanuatu for over 10 years and proper Police clearances or other conditions as stipulated in the
regulations by bribing members of the Citizenship Commission.

There is also a suspicion that there may be cases where many new citizens have received their citizenship but have not forfeited
their foreign nationality often retaining their original passport whilst being issued with a new Vanuatu passport. For those who may
be guilty of such practices - this is a breach of the condition of their citizenship approval.

The moves being taken by the Government are intended to clean up the Citizenship Commission and ensure that in conducting its
duties and making its decisions – the Commission and its members are subject to and follow the requirements of the law.
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VANUATU OFFICE OF
THE OMBUDSMAN
VANUATU OMBUDSMAN SEEKS PROSECUTION OF MINISTER IAUKO
Hopes police will act on violations of Leadership Code
By Royson Willie
PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 5, 2012)

The Ombudsman’s Office has confirmed that they have received a positive feedback from the Public Prosecutor’s Office who
recommended the prosecution of Jay Ngwele and current Minister of Public Utilities, Harry Iauko, for breaches of the Leadership
Code Act.

But they have until Thursday next week to complete this process, which leaves a short time for police to complete their
investigation, which they suspended to seek legal advice.

This was revealed in a presentation made by the Ombudsman’s Office at the National Law and Justice Sector Summit that was
held recently in Mele, Efate.

Speaking to Daily Post Thursday this week, an officer in the Ombudsman’s office said since the public report on the
‘Impeachment Of The Leadership Code Act by Hon. Harry Iauko and Mr. Jay Ngwele’, the Public Prosecutor has since written to
the police, of which a copy was received by the Ombudsman’s office, that there was overwhelming evidence against these two
leaders.

In its presentation at the Justice Summit, the Ombudsman’s office said it has been producing reports from 1998 to October 2010
which were never accepted by the Public Prosecutors.

Then the Ombudsman’s office said in 2010, the Ombudsman issued a public report entitled Public Report on the breach of the
Leadership Code Act by Hon. Malon Hopsmander and Mr. Andre Lesines.

That was the first time when the Public Prosecutor complied with section 37(2)(3) of the Leadership Code Act but the decision not
to prosecute was, inter alia (among other things), based on the possibility of double jeopardy (the legal requirement that a person
cannot be tried twice for the same offence that they have been acquitted of).

But after the Ombudsman’s office issued its report in October 2011, on the impeachment of Iauko and Ngwele through their
convictions at the Magistrate Court, the Public Prosecutor was reported to have concurred that there was "overwhelming evidence
against Honorable Harry Iauko and Mr. Jay Ngwele for impeachment of section 27 of the Leadership Code Act [CAP240], breach
of their obligations as leaders under section 2 of the same Code and failure to appear in obedience to summons without sufficient
excuse contrary to section 49 of the Ombudsman Act [CAP252]."

The Prosecutor’s office then recommended the prosecution of Iauko and Ngwele and requested that the police caution them and
have all necessary documents provided to the Prosecutor’s Office in good time so criminal proceedings can be commenced in the
earliest.

Under the Leadership Code Act, this "good time" limit is three months, which is expected to expire Thursday next week.

This case was then placed under the Uniform Investigation Branch of the police under Senior Inspector George Songi to fulfill the
recommendations of the Public Prosecutor.

Daily Post called the police station to speak with Inspector Songi but he was not in his office, but the officer in the Ombudsman’s
office told Daily Post on Thursday that police have decided to seek legal advice through the Public Prosecutor and the Police legal
counsel for fear of acting in "ultra vires" (that is acting outside of their powers under the law).

The case involving these two leaders stems from an original assault case early last year in the Daily Post office.
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VANUATU COUNCIL OF
TRADE UNIONS
January 4, 2012
It's she who pays the price
Meena Menon

Loreen Baniuri heads an independent trade union in the small island country of Vanuatu in the Pacific. She is symptomatic of the
trend of women who earlier held traditional jobs as teachers and nurses, but are now thinking differently. “That's a new trend.
They are educated, but paid less than men, especially in the private sector there is a gap in pay scales,” she says. As President of
the Vanuatu Council of Trade Unions, Loreen's main task as a trade unionist is to campaign for more women in decision making.
“Today there is only one woman of the 52 members of Parliament. It's very difficult for men to accept women as leaders and listen
to them,” she says.

Vanuatu with a population of 120,000 has an emerging problem of inequality in pay scales and under representation of women in
public life, but in countries like Indonesia the struggle has been going on for many years. Sulistri, Deputy President of the
Confederation of Indonesia Prosperity Trade Union says that unions are still male dominated and the fight for women workers'
rights does not always get top billing. “There is a double burden on women and we need more of them in decision making bodies,”
she adds.

Across the Asia Pacific region, access to decent jobs is a critical issue. “We don't have an equal pay structure and salaries are
based on minimum wages. Men get additional allowances and women only get food and transport,” Sulistri points out. The other
major issue is that of migration, Indonesia being an origin country with over seven million people outside. About 70 per cent of that
number is women and they work as domestic workers. Mutsuko Takahashi, assistant general secretary from the Japan Trade
Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO) says that unless equality of gender is promoted at the centre of the International Labour
Organisation's (ILO) Decent Work concept, nothing will change. She points to the increasing feminization of poverty with a
majority of single parents being very poor and women, an inequality in wages and how they are exposed to risky working
conditions and precarious work.

In places like Macau, the large tourism industry has put women working in the casinos at health risk. Tam Pou Iong of the Macau
Labour Union says that while wages are equal, there are specified working fields for men and women. Women work in large
numbers in the service industry and the casinos are also a big draw. There are several health issues for women, specifically the lack
of restricted smoking areas where pregnant women are especially vulnerable. The Union has 70 per cent women members and their
main fight is for a better working environment.
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Sato Kilman Livtunvanu
Prime Minister since 26 June 2011
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TRAFFICKING IN
PERSONS
None reported.