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Judicial CP - June 2015

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The Daily Telegraph, London, 15 June 2015, p.12

Fiji to stop flogging girls who stay out late

By Jonathan Pearlman

Press cutting

Fiji is expected to ban public floggings, a practice dating back to colonial days that is still used in indigenous villages to punish girls for growing their hair too long or wearing shorts.

Authorities in the Pacific island nation confirmed that by-laws will be introduced to ban flogging in villages, where it has long been permitted and is traditionally practised using coconut fibre whips.

The flogging laws were introduced under British colonial rule and were intended to combat crime and allow local village chiefs to preserve their traditions.

But flogging has also been used to punish girls for staying out too late or failing to adopt traditional hairstyles. The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre welcomed the move. Shamima Ali, the centre's coordinator, said: "Sometimes authorities did not intervene because you cannot interfere with traditional culture.

"We had reports coming in from various areas that some young schoolgirls were being lined up in a particular village and their hair was cut if it was too long.

"That was forcibly done. We still hear about restrictions on women's dress."

Some village elders said the floggings help communities to keep order.

Ratu George Kadavulevu Cakobau junior, a village chief, told The Fiji Sun that flogging should be permitted but "in a controlled manner".

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