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Women Want Tougher Sex Laws

SUVA (Pasifik Nius): A group of Fiji women and their daughters yesterday presented a petition to the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, at Government House calling for stricter legislation and penalties for rape and other sexual crimes, the Daily Post reports.

Receiving the petition, Ratu Josefa said what the multi-ethnic group of women had done was not only for this generation.

He said the timing was appropriate, as the number of sexual related crimes had increased dramatically.

Ratu Josefa assured the women the petition would be handed to the Attorney-General for immediate action.

The First Lady, Adi Kavu Iloilo, reaffirmed the sentiments expressed by her husband, saying she was encouraged by the actions taken by the women of Fiji.

She agreed with the petitioners the Penal Code needed strengthening on sexual related crimes.

National Council of Women representative Susana Evening said another purpose of the petition was to seek the President's help in addressing what had become a "grave national problem".

She said the rise in sexual assaults, including rape, was alarming.

Mrs Evening said the petition contained almost 3000 signatures.

Present at the ceremony were Attorney-General Qoriniasi Bale; Solicitor-General Nainendra Nand; Minister for Women and Social Welfare Adi Asenaca Caucau; acting Permanent Secretary for Women Aseri Rika; and Permanent Secretary for Youth and Sports, Poasa Ravea.

The presentation of the petition was part of the lead-up to the International Women's Day, which will be celebrated today. Last night women held a candlelight vigil.


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