Tonga’s PM says let the people decide about CEDAW

The Prime Minister of Tonga, ‘Akilisi Pohiva, says the issue of ratifying a United Nations Convention CEDAW which recently led to protests in the country, will be put to the public, after the coronation celebrations end.

Cabinet announced earlier this year its intention to join the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW.

Multiple petitions and marches followed the announcement including a parliamentary resolution asking the government not to ratify CEDAW.

Opponents have expressed concern that it will allow same sex marriage and abortion.

The privy council recently asked the government to reconsider its decision.

‘Akilisi Pohiva, who supports CEDAW, says the decision is up to the people.

“It is a matter for the people to decide and since the public is split, there’s a split amongst the people of the country, I think the best thing to do is to give it to the public to make the decision.”

In May Pohiva told Radio Tonga he thinks the issue is important and the government will leave it for the people to see what their decision will be.

He said he believed there would be a referendum and he was going to discuss it with the cabinet.

Tonga currently has no legislation to allow referenda.

The acting Attorney General said there would need to be new legislation and resources for such an exercise.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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