18 Nov 2010

Grave concern that many of Tonga's election candidates don't recognise the rights of women

4:51 pm on 18 November 2010

An organisation in Tonga helping the victims of domestic violence says it's appalled at the lack of knowledge of women's rights shown by election candidates.

Tonga's historic election is now less than a week away and spokesperson for the Tonga Women's and Children's Crisis Centre, Ofa ki-levuka Guttenbeil Likiliki, says their monitoring of campaigning shows a lot of ignorance of issues affecting women.

While many candidates remain opposed to Tonga signing up the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Ms Guttenbeil Likiliki says surveys show women's issues, such as their lack of access to land, are a key community concern.

"And the fact that we are not making these connections, the fact they we are not seeing the linkages between economic development and women's rights is something I think is of grave concern to us, and we think that, going into a new parliament, going into this new Tonga that everybody is talking about you cannot deny the rights of women."