17 Jul 2008

Tonga adopts resolution to help deportees

1:45 pm on 17 July 2008

A two-day conference has ended in Tonga with a resolution to set up a taskforce to help deportees.

433 deportees have been sent back to Tonga over the past five years, most of whom were deported after committing crimes overseas even though many of them were brought up abroad.

The conference brought together a range of different organisations including churches, government departments, the police and the Salvation Army to discuss how to best help the deportees re-adjust to life in Tonga.

Savelio Lavelua from the Salvation Army says the first step for many is to find their Tongan relatives.

But he says many of them struggle to fit in with their new found family.

"Some of them they don't know how to speak in Tongan. And not only that but they still have that kind of mentality that they had back in the States or Australia that they have everything there. So they're expecting that same treatment whereas here in Tonga it's so hard for the relatives to stay alive themselves and adding to that they have this relative of theirs who got deported here - doesn't know how to speak in Tongan, doesn't have an employment you know."

Savelio Lavelua from the Salvation Army