EXPECTANT iTaukei mothers living in villages will not be allowed to go out fishing or do any work that may lead to pregnancy complications, says the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs.
Speaking at the Cakaudrove district representatives workshop at Yaroi Village in Savusavu yesterday, Ministry of iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary Savenaca Kaunisela said women and children needed to be protected and looked after by the men either as fathers, husbands, sons or brothers.
The village law, which disallows expectant mothers from the period of five months to go out fishing or do any work in the village or home, has always been in existence.
But, Mr Kaunisela said, it was not observed by many.
He told the 15 district representatives it was their job to see all villages in their districts observed the law.
Mr Kaunisela said the protection of women and children was also part of the UN Convention of Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and Children that Fiji signed with the UN.
The village law, he said, should also be observed by families.
District representatives were told women were like sweet-smelling garland that men should wear around them all the time.
Fijian Affairs Board officer Nemaia Gucake told the men the protection of women in their districts was in their hands. He told them to visit the villages every three months to ensure villagers abide by the law.
Yanuca district representative Jeke Varanisese told the meeting the enforcement of the protection of women and children would ensure a safer and peaceful environment for them.
Other representatives confirmed they would ensure their village headmen enforced the law which protects women and children, including expectant mothers.
Roko tui Cakaudrove Ro Aca Mataitini said his office would assist district representatives with the monitoring of the village law. He said the district representatives would work with their village headmen in enforcing the law.
The Ministry of Health has also applauded the move by the ministry saying the enforcement of the law was a positive move.
We are grateful to the iTaukei Ministry for considering the plight of the women, spokesman Peni Namotu said.
It is important that expectant mothers from the period of five months get a good rest and eat well, he said.
If expectant mothers work hard or go out to sea during pregnancy term, they can have a premature birth or will have complications, he said.