11 Mar 2015

UN has reservations about Tonga's CEDAW move

3:07 pm on 11 March 2015

The United Nations has tentatively welcomed Tonga's ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW, but pushed Tonga to also change its laws.

Tongan students

Tongan students Photo: AFP

Any State that ratifies the convention is legally bound to eliminate "discriminatory practices" against women and girls and incorporate gender equality into law.

The Officer in Charge of the UN Women's Fiji Office, Nicolas Burniat, says he's happy to see Tonga's commitment.

However, Tonga emphasised that its ratification was subject to Tongan law, which may restrict some of the more controversial aspects of the convention, such as succession to the throne and nobility, abortion and same sex marriage.

The Officer in Charge of the Regional UN Human Rights Office for the Pacific, Satya Jennings, insisted that once Tonga has undergone the actual ratification process, it should bring national legislation in line with "international standards".