13 Dec 2004

Tongan MP restates call for dual citizenship right

2:21 pm on 13 December 2004

A Tongan Pro-Democracy MP, Fred Sevele, says there are increasing calls for the right to dual citizenship to be introduced to the constitution.

A growing number of Tongans who move overseas and take up citizenship in their adopted countries lose their right to a Tongan passport.

Dr Sevele says losing Tongan citizenship is harsh especially for those who held land under customary titles but are forced to forfeit it when they get a foreign passport.

He says despite two unsuccessful attempts in parliament to get the law changed, support for the right to dual citizenship is strong.

"People are saying Ok, why is it difficult to do that when it wasn't difficult for the government and the house to change the constitution so as to allow the selling of Tongan citiznship through the selling of Tongan passports?"

Fred Sevele says Tongans are angry that foreigners, mostly but not exclusively Asians, can come and take out Tongan citizenship while retaining their original passports.