2 Jun 2015

Pro-CEDAW petition presented to Tonga parliament

3:53 pm on 2 June 2015

A petition has been presented to the Tonga parliament backing the government's efforts to ratify the United Nation's Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW.

Matangi Tonga reports the director of the Women's and Children's Crisis Centre, Ofa Guttenbeil Likiliki presented the petition, which is backed by 13 NGOs, to the deputy clerk of the House Dr Sione Vikilani.

Two MPs, Fe'ao Vakata the Minister of Internal Affairs, and Semisi Sika, had signed the petition.

Ms Guttenbeil Likiliki says their support is based on their knowledge of CEDAW and how it can help improve the lives of women and girls in Tonga.

She says the petition letter, addressed to the speaker Lord Tu'ivakano, states CEDAW will not undermine Tongan attitudes to abortion and same sex marriage.

Ms Guttenbeil Likiliki says these two issues are not spelled out in CEDAW nor are they hidden within some other clauses of the convention as has been claimed by its opponents.