28 May 2015

Referendum possible on CEDAW in Tonga

7:47 am on 28 May 2015

The prime minister of Tonga says there could be a referendum on the ratification of a controversial women's rights convention.

The government is facing increasing pressure to stop the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW, with opponents claiming it will open the door for same sex marriage and abortion.

Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva has told Radio Tonga he thinks the issue is important and the government will leave it for the people to see what their decision will be.

Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva.

Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva. Photo: RNZ

Mr Pohiva says he believes there will be a referendum and he will to discuss it with the cabinet.

However the prime minister says the exercise will cost time and money.

Meanwhile Radio Tonga reports Tonga currently has no legislation to allow referenda.

The acting Attorney General says there would need to be new legislation and resources for such an exercise.

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