Amnesty International Annual Report 2011 - Solomon Islands

Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Sir Frank Kabui
Head of government: Danny Philip (replaced Derek Sikua in August)
Death penalty: abolitionist for all crimes
Population: 0.5 million
Life expectancy: 67 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 56/57 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 76.6 per cent

Violence against women and girls persisted with government efforts to combat the issue yielding little impact. Access to clean water and sanitation remained out of reach for many inhabitants of informal settlements in the capital, Honiara.

Violence against women and girls

Women continued to be attacked and killed with impunity. Survivors of such attacks reported that the Public Solicitors office (legal aid) refused to represent them in applying for injunction orders from the courts unless they had visible injuries.

In March, a woman was killed in Western Province by her partner. That same month, a woman who had been beaten and knifed by her husband spoke of her ordeal at a public rally celebrating International Women's Day in Honiara while still bearing visible signs of the attack she had sustained a few days earlier. She was the first survivor of such violence to speak publicly about her experience, raising awareness about the issue, particularly among government officials.

The government launched a national gender policy in March, which set out plans to address gender-based violence. These included a review of laws addressing violence against women and girls, increasing the capacity of the police to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of family violence and more support for the provision of services, such as counselling and safe houses, for survivors of violence. The government also established a task force to look at legal reforms to better combat violence against women.

  • In August, a woman was attacked by her partner in the centre of Honiara, in plain view of police officers who did not stop the beating or arrest the man.

Right to adequate housing – lack of access to water and sanitation

Thousands of people in several informal settlements in Honiara continued to have no access to clean piped water and sanitation.

In Kobito 1, 2, 3 and 4 settlements, many families had to walk a round-trip of more than 1km to collect drinking water from the community pipe. Other families had little or no choice but to use contaminated creeks for washing, bathing and drinking. In other settlements around Honiara town, one toilet was normally shared between five to six households; toilets were often unsanitary.

Death penalty

In December, Solomon Islands abstained from voting on a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions despite the country being abolitionist for all crimes.

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