Decriminalisation of homosexuality in Tonga likely to face opposition


Tonga’s acting attorney general, ‘Aminiasi Kefu, believes there will be strong opposition to the calls from Tonga’s LGBTI community to revise the Criminal Offences Act.

Tonga’s homosexual and transgender community will be calling on government leaders to revise legislation in order to protect LGBTI people.

Tonga’s Leiti Association has planned a national consultation with government leaders in December to petition for changes to the Criminal Offences Act.

The Act criminalises cross-dressing and sodomy, and can be punished with up to ten years in prison.

“This is going to be the first time that we actually invite people to come and sit around the table and talk with us and work together with us on such issues,” said Henry Aho, the association’s project officer.

During its periodic review by the Human Rights Council in 2013, Tonga requested that recommendations to decriminalise homosexuality be deferred for further consultation in the country.

Kefu said references in the Criminal Offences Act to consenting acts like sodomy would be looked at if the government decriminalised homosexuality.

But he believes decriminalisation will be strongly opposed by the public.

“So that matter is entirely in the hands of the political masters to consider the issue and make the ultimate decision and obviously they’ll definitely refer it to the public.”

“But knowing Tongan culture and the strength of Christian principles, there will be strong opposition to it. But it’s a matter entirely for government to decide,” he said.”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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