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Melanesian Messenger Online distributed by the
Church of the Province of Melanesia
Some of the delegates at the consultation
Photo No. : P070831-2
Click for enlarged photo

DON'T FORGET US... Members of the Disabled People Association of Solomon Islands participating in the three-day consultation
Photo No. : P070831-3
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Churches Urged to Address Abuse against Women and Neglect of Disabled People
August 31, 2007

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] Churches in the Solomon Islands need to take on a proactive role in curbing all forms of violence and abuse against vulnerable groups such as women and people with disabilities.

This statement was made by the Principal of Bishop Patteson Theological College, Fr Philemon Akao, at the official opening of a three-day ecumenical theological consultation on violence against women and on disability currently underway in Honiara.

Such violence in the country, he said, is a real problem that has continued unabated for decades and is a threat to harmonious co-existence and to the building of the kingdom of God in what we claim to be a Christian country.

"It's time all faith-based and government and non governmental organisations vested with such responsibility revisit their role and lead the way to stop the suffering of women through such violence and abuse, and deplore the senseless and inhuman actions of the perpetrators.

"We have come from different and distinct affiliated groups; however, let us not allow the mask of different organizations to distract us from the reality of violence against women and the indifference to people with disabilities," he said.

Fr Akao reiterated that it was "bad faith" in God when Christians seek in God to be holy and be like angels in heaven while their fellow brothers and sisters who cry for justice are denied that justice.

"The Consultation is about the way we think, talk and raise serious questions about the plights of innocent people suffer for no reason of their own," he said.

The Consultation, hosted by Bishop Patteson Theological College, began on 30 August and ends on 1 September 2007. It has attracted a lot of interest within the church and in NGO circles, resulting in a huge turnout. Participants are drawn from the diocesan and provincial based ecumenical organizations as well as from Honiara.