10 Mar 2018

Tongan human rights advocate Susana Faletau dies

1:22 pm on 10 March 2018
Susana Ma'ata Faletau, front and centre, was instrumental in the formation of several Tongan human rights policies and bodies.

Susana Ma'ata Faletau, front and centre, was instrumental in the formation of several Tongan human rights policies and bodies. Photo: Supplied / Pacific Community

Susana Ma'ata Faletau, a longtime human rights campaigner and public servant in Tonga, has died.

Her death was confirmed in a statement from the Pacific Community (SPC).

Ms Faletau, who was originally a lawyer, joined the Nuku'alofa public service in 1993 when she joined the prime minister's office and the foreign ministry.

It was there that she began Tonga's push to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and advocated for a national human rights committee within government.

In 2012, took the helm of the Ministry of Justice, where she partnered with the SPC to establish the Pacific's first legal aid centre dedicated to helping survivors of domestic violence, which opened recently.