Tonga government stands firm on its move to sign CEDAW despite protests

PHOTO: Protesters march from the Basilica of St Anthony Padua to parliament in protest against government’s move to sign CEDAW. Photo/Supplied

The Tongan government has vowed to stand firm over its move to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women despite protests staged by church members in Nuku’alofa this week.

Known as CEDAW, the government declared it has passed a resolution to ratify it in March and announced it has processed the signatory with the United Nations office.

Of  the 189 countries in the world which ratified CEDAW, Tonga is one of seven countries, which includes the United States, not to have signed the convention.

Hundreds marched up to the royal palace in Nukuʻalofa this afternoon and submitted a petition asking the king to intervene with government’s move to sign CEDAW.

The march came after a protest march was staged on Wednesday in protest against the United Nations’ convention.

The marchers submitted a petition to the Speaker of the House saying the convention would ease Christianity’s opposition to same sex marriage and abortion.

Majority of the marchers were women and Christian church members.

The government believed protesters have been misinformed on CEDAW and that there was lack of education in Tonga about the convention.

The government said work was under way to translate CEDAW’s articles and relevant information into Tongan and they would be made available to the public shortly.

Tonga’s Public Service Association claimed the marches led by some church leaders were politically motivated by those who dislike the government.

Tonga’s Minister of Internal Affairs was quoted by Radio New Zealand International as saying “I just talked to the CEO and told him that they have to print the Tongan version of the CEDAW in the paper next week and also with some FAQs, (frequently asked questions), of CEDAW because I think a lot of people in Tonga still don’t understand what CEDAW is about.”

The minister told the radio the government listened to protesters but it has to do its best for the nation as a whole.

Laka ki Palasi
Hundreds arrived at the Royal Palace in Nuku’alofa and submitted a petition to the king asking him to intervene with government’s move to sign CEDAW. Photo/Supplied

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news