The 27th Mechesil Belau Conference is once again pushing for enforcement of certain traditional and cultural practices that they say are practiced incorrectly.
Examples of wrong practices the conference seeks to address include children of male lineage bestowing money to children of deceased male (ulechell e lomdoudrarengalk), unmarried women coming out during childbirth ceremony (diak el bechil el mengat e motuobed) and bestowing money to a child during childbirth ceremony (omdoudrangalkratemelomengat).
Production of fake Palauan money and it’s useduring customs, holding a settling of the will event before the funeral (meruulracheldecheduchrucheirakemeldiil), and performing a cultural responsibility that a person is not entitled to perform (melechaongall, chelbechiil, omsiich a iklelomechell) which is not just anyone’s responsibility are some of the practices Mechesil Belau seeks to stop.
Other issues advocated by the women’s conference include seeking to enact a law prohibiting same sex marriage or same sex relationships and to “prohibit people in such relationship from participating in cultural roles such as that of an in-law (meruul a siukang el ngaraderuchellel a buchelsechal)”.
Another demand is to change the law regarding appointment ofmembers of the Board of Historians to be done according to tradition. Another is to require that all new lawyers and judges be trained on Palauan cultural traditions.
The event is taking place today and tomorrow at Ngara-amayong Cultural Center and is themed “People’s health, food security and protection of environment and lives”. Half of afternoon today and tomorrow will focus on health and food security.
The annual event is an opportunity for the Mechesil Belau (traditional women’s group) to air their concerns, raise awareness on issues that concern themand be informed of what various agencies of the government are doing.
The national budget for FY 2020 appropriated $50,000 for this year’s conference. The event is not a regular budget activity and the fund will expire this September 30, 2020.