6 Feb 2017

Tonga Govt sends CEDAW back to the public

10:08 am on 6 February 2017

Tonga's Prime Minister says the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW, will be the focus of public consultations later in the year.

Tonga has been preparing to ratify the convention since 2015 but last year 'Akilisi Pohiva said the Government was stepping back from ratification after opponents protested that it could open the way for same-sex marriage and abortion.

Mr Pohiva said local women's groups would be asked to carry out public consultations again.

He said the subject had divided the nation.

"We made it clear that some of the clauses in regards to CEDAW are well taken by government and there are a few we do not think that they are appropriate," he said.

"We cannot apply this provision in the case of Tonga. That is why we thought the most appropriate action to be taken is to send them back for review and for discussion," 'Akilisi Pohiva.

Tonga is one of only six UN members which haven't ratified CEDAW, including Iran, Sudan, Somalia and the USA.

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.

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. Photo: Broadcomfm Broadcasting / Facebook

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