7 Oct 2016

Opposition to decriminalisation of homosexuality likely in Tonga

8:15 am on 7 October 2016

Tonga's acting attorney general believes there will be strong opposition to calls from Tonga's LGBTI community to revise the country's Criminal Offences Act.

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The UN launched a Pacific Free & Equal Campaign against homophobia and transphobia in August last year. Photo: UN

The Tonga Leiti's Association has planned a national consultation with government leaders in December to petition for changes in the act relating to cross-dressing and sodomy.

During its periodic review by the Human Rights Council in 2013, Tonga requested that recommendations to decriminalise homosexuality could be deferred for further consultation in the country.

'Aminiasi Kefu said references in the Criminal Offences Act to consenting acts like sodomy would be looked at if the government decriminalised homosexuality.

But Mr Kefu believes decriminalisation will be strongly opposed by the public.

"So that matter is entirely in the hands of the political masters to consider the issue and make the ultimate decision and obviously they'll definitely refer it to the public. But knowing Tongan culture and the strength of Christian principles, there will be strong opposition to it. But it's a matter entirely for government to decide," he said.

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