13 Dec 2004

Pressure mounting for Tongans to be able to hold dual citizenship

4:42 pm on 13 December 2004

Pro-Democracy Tonga MP Fred Sevele says the government must act on 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 hold land under customary titles but are forced to forfeit their entitlement 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 gathering momentum.

"The other thing that caused a lot of Tongans to be angry, and I guess it's natural, is that they see others coming to Tonga, and in particular Asians in recent years, and take up Tongan citizenship, but at the same time they retain their original nationality. So they say why can others do that and we can't?"

Fred Sevele.