Tongan Government tells church leaders no threat to women, families or morals from CEDAW

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PHOTO: R-L. Tonga’s Minister for Internal Affairs Hon. Sōsefo Fe’ao Vakatā annoucing Tonga will ratify CEDAW with reservations at UN Commission on the Status of Women 59th Session.  

The Tongan government has denied claims by religious leaders that the United Nations’ Convention to Eliminate all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) threatens family peace, harmony and Christianity.

Nor will it open the door to legalised abortion or same-sex marriage.

The government’s Minister for Internal Affairs Hon Sosefo Fe’ao Vakatā was responding to a letter released by church leaders this month protesting against its move to ratify the convention.

It was the government’s first clear statement on CEDAW after church leaders protested since March.

In its letter the church leaders said CEDAW denied Christianity and would encourage sodomy.

They also said any opportunities given to women must be limited to their capability as they were born with limited competency.

They said if Tonga ratified CEDAW there would be less respect for women and the peace and harmony of Tongan families would be lost.

In response, the government said CEDAW would give Tongan women the highest respect they deserved.

Though it respected the church leaders’ views, the government said it was its duty to ratify the convention for the best interest of the nation as a whole.

The government said it did not agree with church leaders’ claims that men were born to lead and that women were only born to listen to men.

It said the government operated under Tonga’s constitution and laws and had to make sure all decisions it made were for the greatest advantage of the ‘hou’eiki’ (lords) and people of the ‘fonua’ (land).

Such advantage had to be equally shared by everyone without discriminating them against their gender.

The government told church leaders it trusted the United Nations convention would not interfere with Tonga’s constitutions and that the reservations it applied for would not be removed without Tonga’s consent.

The government said although it expected further discussions with church leaders on CEDAW it appeared they stood firm on their beliefs and the government would not force them to co-operate.

About CEDAW

Often described as an international bill of rights for women, the convention does not support abortion and same sex marriage. Same sex marriage refers to gay women and gay men. CEDAW only deals with women’s rights.

The convention is designed to reduce the sexual enslavement and trafficking of women and girls.

It also helps secure basic legal support for women and girls fighting violence and abuses of their human rights.

The convention upholds making primary education and health care accessible where it has previously been denied.

It is also intended to help women save lives during pregnancy and childbirth

The convention also acknowledges the basic right of women to own and inherit property, including helping to secure essential development loans to poor women

Abortion, same-sex marriage and reservations about CEDAW

There have been questions in Tonga about whether governments which ratify CEDAW can do so with reservations.

The convention allows ratification subject to reservations, provided that the reservations are not incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention.

The reservation can only be withdrawn by the country which applied for those reservations.

New Zealand became party to CEDAW in 1985 and expressed reservations on women rights to military service, but government withdrew it 22 years later.

There is no link between CEDAW and same-sex marriage and abortion.

The United States is yet to sign CEDAW, but has legalised abortion and same sex marriage is legal in many states.

Most countries which have ratified CEDAW have large Christian populations and have expressed certain reservations. Most of these countries do not legalise abortion and same-sex marriage.

In 2013, 28 years after it ratified CEDAW, the New Zealand Parliament passed a bill submitted by Labour Party MP and gay advocate Louisa Wall.

The main points

  • The Tongan government has denied claims by religious leaders that the United Nations’ Convention to Eliminate all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) threatens family peace, harmony and Christianity.
  • Nor will it open the door to legalised abortion or same-sex marriage.
  • The government was responding to a letter released by church leaders this month protesting against its move to ratify the convention.
  • It was the government‘s first clear statement on CEDAW since the topic went public in February.

For more information

Convention to Eliminate all Forms of Discrimination Against Women

Tonga set to finally sign CEDAW 

Catholic Church in Tonga opposes CEDAW

Comments / Tālanga

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  1. Kuo fakahā ʻe he Puleʻanga Tongá ki he kau taki ʻo e ngaahi siasí ʻoku ʻikai ha fakatuʻutāmaki ʻo e CEDAW ki he kakai fefiné , fāmilí pe moʻui fakamōlalé (moʻui taau)

    Kuo fakaʻikaiʻi ʻe he Puleʻanga Tongá ʻa e pehē ʻe he kau taki lotú ʻoku fakatuʻutāmaki ʻa e Konivēsio koi a ʻa e Puleʻanga Fakatahatahá ki Hono Toʻo Fakaʻaufuli ʻa e Ngaahi Fakakehekehe ʻoku Fai ki he Kakai Fefiné ki he melino ʻa e fāmilí, maʻumaʻulutá mo e tui faka-Kalisitiané.

    ʻE ʻikai foki ke ne fakaava ʻe ia ha matapā ki hano fakalaoʻi e fakatōtamá mo e mali tataú.

    Ko e tali ʻeni ʻa e Minisitā ki he Ngaahi Meʻa Fakalotofonua ʻa e Puleʻangá, Sōsefo Feʻao Vakatā ki he tohi ne tuku mai ʻe he kau taki ʻo e ngaahi siasí he māhiná ni ʻo fakafepakiʻi e ngaʻunu ko ia ke tali ʻa e konivēsió.

    Ko ha fuofua lau mahino ʻeni ʻa e puleʻangá kuó ne fakapapauʻi mai ai ʻa e pau ke fakamoʻoni ʻa Tonga he CEDAW talu hono fakafepakiʻi ʻe he kau taki lotú talu mei he māhina Māʻasí.

    ʻI he tohi ʻa e kau taki ʻo e ngaahi siasí ne nau pehē ai ‘oku “kalokalo mamahi” ‘a e CEDAW ki he lotu faka-Kalisitiané mo ne poupouʻi ʻa e moʻui fakasōtomá.

    ʻOku nau tui e kau taki lotú ʻoku totonu ke fakangatangata pe faingamālie ʻoku ʻoange ki he kakai fefiné ʻo fakatatau ki he fakangatangata ʻa honau ivi malava ne fanauʻi mai mo kinautolú.

    Ne nau pehē ka tali ʻe Tonga ʻa e CEDAW ‘e mole ai ‘a e ngeia lahi mo e faka’apa’apa’i ‘o ha’a fafine mo e nofo fakafāmili pea uesia foki e melinó mo e ma’uma’ulutá.

    Neongo ne fakaʻapaʻapaʻi ʻe he puleʻangá e fakakaukau ʻa e kau taki ʻo e ngaahi siasí ka ne ne pehē ko e CEDAW te ne ʻoange ʻa e fakaʻapaʻapa taupotu taha ʻoku taau ke maʻu ʻe haʻa fafiné.

    Pehē foki ʻe he ministaá kuo ʻikai tui tatau e puleʻangá mo e kau taki ʻo e ngaahi siasí ʻi heʻenau pehē ne fanauʻi mai pe ʻa e kakai tangatá ke taki pea fanauʻi mai ʻa e kakai fefiné ke fakaongoongo ki he tangatá.

    Ne pehē foki ʻe he puleʻangá ʻoku ngāue ʻa e puleʻangá ʻi he malumalu ʻo ʻene konisitūtone mo ʻene ngaahi lao pea ʻi he makatuʻunga koi á ko hono ngafa ia ke fakapapauʻi ko e ngaahi tuʻutuʻuni kotoa pē te ne fai ʻoku fai ia ki he lelei taupotu taha ʻa e houʻeikí mo e kakai ʻo e fonuá.

    Ko e lelei ko iá ʻi he lau ʻa e puleʻangá kuo pau ke vahevahe tatau ʻi he taha kotoa pe ʻo ʻikai fakakehekeheʻi ha faʻahinga koeʻuhī ko honau tuʻunga tangata pe fefiné.

    Ne fakahā ʻe he puleʻangá ki he kau taki ʻo e ngaahi siasí ʻa ʻene falala moʻoni ʻe ʻikai ha kaunoa ʻe taha ʻa e puleʻanga fakatahatahá ki he konisitūtone mo e ngaahi fakangatangata kuo fai ʻe Tonga ki he ngaahi kupu tuʻutuʻuni ʻa e CEDAW pea ʻe ʻikai ke ne ueʻi ʻa e fakangatangata ko iá taʻe loto ʻa Tonga ki ai.

    Ne toe pehē foki ʻe he puleʻangá neongo ne ʻi ai ʻene ʻamanaki ʻe kei hokohoko atu pe tālanga mo e kau taki lotú ʻi he kaveingá ni ka kuo hā mai kuo nau tuʻu maʻu kinautolu ʻi heʻenau tuí pea ʻoku ʻikai ko ha founga ngāue ia ʻa e puleʻangá ke ne fakamālohiʻi mai ha siasí ke na tui tatau ki he meʻa ʻoku ne taukaveʻí.

    Fekauʻaki mo e CEDAW:

    ʻOku faʻa ui ʻa e konivēsio ko ʻeni ko e lao ki he ngaahi totonu ʻa e kakai fefiné, pea ʻoku ʻikai ke ne poupouʻi ʻe ia ʻa e fakatōtamá mo e mali tataú. ʻOku ʻuhinga ʻa e mali tataú ki he mali ʻa e fefine mo e fefine pe tangata mo e tangata. Ko e CEDAW ʻoku nofo pe ia ki he ngaahi totonu ʻa e kakai fefiné ʻataʻatā.

    Naʻe tufungaʻi ʻa e konivēsio ko ʻení ke ne fakasiʻisiʻi ʻa hono tukupōpulaʻi mo fetuku holo ʻa e kakai fefiné ʻo taumuʻa ke nau fai ʻa e ngaahi ngāue fakapaʻumutú.

    ʻOkú ne toe tokoni foki ki he kakai mo e tamaiki fefiné ke nau maʻu ʻa e ngaahi poupou fakalao tefito ki hono tauʻi ʻa hono tā fakamamahiʻi mo hono tāmakitangataʻi ʻenau totonuʻi tangatá.

    ʻOku poupouʻi foki ʻe he konivēsió ni ʻa e akoteú mo hono tokangaekina ʻo e moʻui leleí ʻi he ngaahi feituʻu ne ʻikai pe tali ia aí.

    ʻOku toe fakataumuʻa foki ke ne tokoniʻi e kakai fefiné ke fakahaofi ha ngaahi moʻui lolotonga ʻenau feitamá mo e taimi ʻoku nau fāʻele aí.

    ʻOku tali ʻe he konivēsió ni ʻa e tefitoʻi totonu ʻa e kakai fefiné ke nau maʻu tofiʻa kau ai mo hono tokoniʻi ʻa e kakai fefine masivá ke nau lava nō koeʻuhī ke nau maʻu e ngaahi fakalakalaka ʻoku fiemaʻu ki he haʻa tangatá.

    Fakatōtamá , mali tataú mo e ngaahi kupu ʻi he CEDAW ʻoku ʻikai tali ʻe he ngaahi puleʻanga mēmipá pe ko ia ʻoku ui ko e ngaahi fakangatangatá:

    Kuo ʻi ai ha toutou ʻeke ʻi Tonga ʻo pehē pe ko e moʻoni ʻoku malava ke fai ʻa e ngaahi fakangatangata pe reservations hangē ko ia kuo fai ʻe he puleʻanga ki he ngaahi kupu ʻo e CEDAW.

    ʻIo ʻoku fakangofua ʻe he konivēsio ko ʻeni ʻa e fakangatangatá ka ke fakapapauʻi pe ʻoku fenāpasi mo e ngaahi taumuʻa ʻa e konivēsió.

    Ko e ngaahi fakangatangata ko ʻení ʻe toki toʻo pe ʻe he fonua ne ne kole ke fakahoko ʻa e ngaahi fakangatangata ko iá.

    Ne tali ʻe Nuʻu Sila e CEDAW ʻi he 1985 peá ne ʻi ai ʻenau fakangatangata ʻa kinautolu ne nau fokotuʻu atu kau ki he totonu ʻa e kakai fefiné fekauʻaki mo e ngaue ‘i heʻene vaʻa fakakautaú. Ne hili ha taʻu ʻe 22 mei ai ne toki toe fakahā atu ʻe Nuʻu Sila ki he CEDAW ke toʻo ʻa e ngaahi fakangatangata ko ʻeni ka e lava ke fenāpasi e tuʻunga ʻo ʻene fakamoʻoni ki he CEDAW mo e tuʻunga lolotonga ʻene ngaahi laó.

    ʻOku ʻikai ha fehokotaki ia ʻa e CEDAW mo e mali tatau mo e fakatōtamá.

    Fakatātā ki ʻAmelika. ʻOku teʻeki ke nau tali kakato ʻe kinautolu ia ʻa e CEDAW, ka kuo nau ʻosi fakalaoʻi ʻe kinautolu ʻa e fakatōtamá pea tali ʻe he ngaahi vahefonua lahi ʻo e fonua haú ni ʻa e mali tataú.

    Ko e ngaahi fonua lahi taha kuo nau tali ʻa e CEDAW ʻoku tokolahi fau ʻa e kau lotu Kalisitiané ʻia kinautolu ka kuo nau ʻosi fokotuʻu ʻe kinautolu ʻa ʻenau ngaahi fakangatangata ki he CEDAW pea ʻikai foki ke nau tali ʻa e fakatōtamá mo e mali tataú.

    Ne ʻosi e taʻu ʻe 28 mei hono tali ʻe Nuʻu Sila ni ʻa e CEDAW ne toki fakaʻatā ʻe he Fale Aleá ʻi he 2013 ʻa e lao ke fakangofua ʻa e mali tataú ʻi ha teke ia ʻa e kau mēmipa Fale Alea. Ko e lao ia ne fokotuʻu ʻe he Mēmipa Fale Alea fefine ʻa e Paati Leipá ka ko e poupou ʻo e moʻui keí (gay) ko Louisa Wall. Naʻe ʻikai ko ha fokotuʻu ia mei he CEDAW.

  2. Tau sio pe ki he laka 22th ki ai …… lau ‘uhinga na’e ‘ikai ke fakamo’oni ai ‘a USA ki he CEDAW and Vatican too !!!. Loi e fakakonga fakapiko !!!! loi katoa …..