25 May 2015

Tongan NGOs to show CEDAW support

11:55 am on 25 May 2015

A group of non-government organisations in Tonga is preparing a petition of support for a controversial UN convention.

There have been multiple petitions and protest marches opposing the goverment ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW.

But a women's advocate Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki says there are plenty of people who do support the empowerment of women.

She says 13 NGOs have come together under the Civil Society Forum.

Ms Guttenbeil-Likiliki says the group doesn't have the resources of local churches which have mobilised against CEDAW so the petition will be signed by representatives.

"More strategically we are coming together as heads of organisations that work on the ground, that work with vulnerable groups, that work with women who are not your average privileged Tongan women who have access to all her social, economic, political and cultural rights. We work for the women who have no say, who are voiceless."

The NGO petition is scheduled for submission to parliament later in the week.

Tongan women protest against the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, arguing it includes counter-culture clauses such as same sex marriage and abortion.

Tonga holding out against CEDAW Photo: Broadcomfm Broadcasting / Facebook

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