22 May 2015

Opposition but Tonga Govt firm on CEDAW

9:55 am on 22 May 2015
Tongan women protest against the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, arguing it includes counter-culture clauses such as same sex marriage and abortion.

A large protest was held in Nuku'alofa this week, urging the government not to ratify CEDAW. Photo: Broadcomfm Broadcasting / Facebook

Tonga's government says it has not changed its stance on the ratification of a major United Nations convention, despite intensifying opposition.

There have been three petitions, a protest march and a parliamentary resolution asking the government to not ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW.

Thousands have expressed concern that it would open the door for same sex marriage and abortion in the country.

But the Minister of Internal Affairs, Fe'ao Vakata, says the government has not changed its position in regards to CEDAW.

He says discussions will continue and there needs to be even more education on the matter.

"I just talked to the CEO and told him that they have to print the Tongan version of the CEDAW in the paper next week and also with some FAQs, (frequently asked questions), of CEDAW because I think a lot of people in Tonga still don't understand what CEDAW is about."

Mr Vakata says the government will listen to people, but it also needs to do what is best for the country.

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