Tongan theology expert condemns CEDAW critics who  “hide behind church” to discriminate against women  

    PHOTO: Dr Nasili Vaka’uta lashes out at his fellow church leaders in Tonga

    A Tongan minister has lambasted churches and groups which oppose the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), calling them “confused men and women” who “hide behind church, Bible and God in order to continue to discriminate against women.”

    Rev. Dr Nāsili Vakaʻuta, who is a lecturer at the University of Auckland’s School of Theology, took to Facebook last week after some church leaders marched to Parliament and presented a petition to the Speaker of the House.

    The petitioners claimed CEDAW would open the door to legalised abortion and same sex marriage.

    Last Friday about 500 protesters marched to the Royal Palace and presented petitions to the king asking him to intervene with government’s move to ratify CEDAW.

    The petitions were reported to have gathered around 15,000 signatures.

    Some Tongan women who support CEDAW said the attitude of church leaders in Tonga showed how intolerant and backward they were.

    Dr Vaka’uta, a former lecturer at the Free Wesleyan Church’s Sia’atoutai Theological College,  applauded those women who supported the government’s move to ratify CEDAW.

    “It is utter stupidity to protest against a very straightforward convention to ensure gender justice and gender equality,” Dr Vakaʻuta wrote on his Facebook page.

    The protests against CEDAW have divided the Tongan community at home and abroad.

    Supporters of CEDAW claimed some church leaders misled their followers about the convention.

    The placards carried by marchers seemed to prove what CEDAW supporters’ have claimed to be true

    One placard read: “Tonga rejects colonialism” while another said: “CEDAW = 666! Evil!” and “God created Eve and Adam not CEDAW”

    Another placard read: “I am proud of my family mother and father not CEDAW”.

    Cedaw banner
    CEDAW supporters claimed some church leaders in Tonga misled their followers about CEDAW. Photo/ Supplied

    Approval

    Dr Vaka’uta’s post on Facebook met with approval.

    One respondent said: “Well said Dr Principal… sadly, discrimination against women is a global epidemic… and to use the scriptures written in a different context and different era to support their superiority and trash equality in the 21st century is shameful”.

    Another said: “It’s a pity that in this day and age some people would still want to use the Bible to advance their own interests. When will people realize that women are also human beings. Shame to those groups in Tonga, and thanks Nasili for sharing this”.

    A female commentator who shared Dr Vaka’uta’s post wrote:

    “It’s a convention to allow women the opportunities that men have enjoyed for centuries and to eliminate all discrimination against women.

    “Sadly, our women in Tonga are taking part in a campaign that’s against their very quest for self determination.

    “This is a huge backward step. Despite the Government and Minister Fe’ao Vakatā assuring that there are exceptions that will not interfere with our Tongan laws and traditions, no one seems to listen or pay attention. What a shame!”

    The government has vowed to stand firm on its stance to sign CEDAW.

    CEDAW Dr Nasili Vaka'uta 2

    1 COMMENT

    1. Kuo hanga ‘e ha faifekau ʻo fakaangaʻi fefeka ʻa e ngaahi siasi mo e ʻū kulupu ʻi Tonga ʻoku nau fakafepakiʻi ʻa e Konivēsio ko ia ki hono Toʻo Fakaʻaufuli e Fakakehekehe ʻOku Fai Ki he Kakai Fefiné ʻo pehē ko e kakai tangata mo fefine puputuʻu eni ʻoku nau tukutoi mai he siasí. Tohi Tapú mo e ʻOtuá ke kei hokohoko atu pe ʻenau fakafaikehekeheʻi ʻa e kakai fefiné.

      Ko e lau ʻeni ʻa Faifekau Toketā Nāsili Vakaʻuta, ko e lekisā ia ʻi he ʻApiako ki he Teolosiá ʻa e ʻUnivēsiti ʻo ʻAokalaní ne fai ʻi he uike kuo ʻosí he Feisipuká hili ia ha laka ne taki ʻe he niʻihi ʻo e kau taki lotú ki Fale Alea mo fakahū atu ha tohi tangi ki he Sea ʻo e Fale Aleá.

      ʻOku pehē ʻe he kau ʻave tohi tangi ko ʻení ʻe fakaava ʻe he CEDAW ʻa e matapā ki hono fakalaoʻi e mali tatau mo e fakatōtamá.

      ʻI he Falaite kuo ʻosí ne laka ai ha kau laka fakafuofua ki he toko 500 ki he Palasi Fakatuʻí ʻo momoi atu haʻanau ngaahi tohi tangi ki he tuʻí ʻo kole ke ne taʻofi e ngaʻunu ko ia ʻa e puleʻangá ke fakamoʻoni he CEDAW.

      Kuo pehē ʻe he kakai fefine ʻe niʻihi ʻoku nau poupouʻi e CEDAW ko e faʻahinga tōʻonga ko ʻeni ʻa e kau takilotú ʻi Tongá ʻoku ne fakahaaʻi mahino mai ʻa e tuʻunga taʻefaʻakātaki mo e fakaholomui ʻoku nau ʻi aí.

      Naʻe fakahikihikiʻi ʻe Dr Vakaʻuta ʻa ia ko e faiako foki ia ki muʻa ʻi he Kolisi Siaʻatoutaí ʻa e kakai fefine ko ʻeni ʻoku nau poupouʻi e ngaʻunu ko ʻeni ʻa e puleʻangá ke fakamoʻoni ʻi he CEDAW.

      Ko e mātuʻaki ngāue vale ia ke fakafepakiʻi ʻa e konivēsio ʻoku mahino lelei hono taumuʻá ke fakapapauʻi maʻu e fakamaau totonú mo e tataú ʻi he taimi vakaiʻi pe ko e meʻa tangata ē pe fefine.

      Kuo hoko e fakafepaki ko ʻeni ki he CEDAW ke fakafaʻafaʻahi ai e komiunitī Tongá ʻo tatau pe ʻi Tonga mo muli.

      ʻOku tukuakiʻi ʻe he kau poupou ʻo e CEDAW ʻoku takihalaʻi ʻe he kau taki lotu ʻe niʻihi ʻa honau kau muimuí ʻo fekauʻaki mo e konivēsió ni.

      ʻOku fakamoʻoni ki he lau ko ʻeni ʻa e kau poupou ʻo e CEDAW ʻa e ngaahi meʻa ne tohi he ngaahi pepa tohiʻanga fakamatala ne toʻo ʻe he kau laká ʻa ia ne ʻasi ʻoku ʻikai haʻane fekauʻaki ʻana mo e CEDAW.

      Ko e pepa ʻe taha ne tohi ai ʻo pehē – ʻOku ʻikai tali ʻe Tonga ia e fakakaukau fakakoloniá.

      Ko e pepa ʻe taha ne tohi ai ʻa e lau ʻo pehē ʻoku tatau e CEDAW mo e 666 pea ʻoku kovi. Ne ʻi ai mo e papa ʻe taha ne pehē ne fakatupu ʻe he ʻOtuá ʻa ʻIvi mo ʻĀtama kae ʻikai ko e CEDAW.

      Ne toe pehē ʻe ha pepa ʻe taha ʻoku ou pōlepole heʻeku tamaí mo ʻeku faʻeé kae ʻikai ko e CEDAW.

      Kaekehe ne tali lelei e fakamatala ko ʻeni ʻa Dr Vakaʻuta ʻi he Feisipuká.

      Ne pehē ʻe ha tali ʻe taha ki heʻene laú ko e meʻa fakamamahi ia he ko hono fakakehekeheʻi ʻo e kakai fefiné ko e mahaki fakakolope.

      Pea ko hono fakaʻaongaʻi ko ia ʻo e folofola ʻa e ʻOtuá ʻa ia ne hiki ʻi he ngaahi ʻuhinga kehekehe mo e ngaahi kuonga kehekehe ke poupouʻiʻaki ʻa e pehē ʻe he nʻiihi ko ʻeni [fakafepaki ki he CEDAW] ko kinautolu pe ʻoku nau māʻolunga tahá mo fakataʻeʻaongaʻi ʻa e tataú ʻi he senituli 21 ni ʻoku fakamā.

      Ne toe pehē ʻe ha tokotaha ʻoku fakamamahi ʻi he ngaahi ʻaho ni mo e kuongá ni hono kei fakaʻaongaʻi ʻe he kakai ʻe niʻihi ʻa e TohiTapú ke tekeʻaki ʻenau fiemaʻu pe ia ʻa kinautolu.

      ʻE ʻafē ko hā hano fakatokangaʻi ʻe he kakaí ko e kakai fefiné ko e tangata moʻui. Meʻa fakamā ko e ngaahi kulupu ʻi Tonga ko ʻeni pea ʻoku fai e fakamālō kia Nasili heʻene vahevahe mai ʻene fakakaukaú.

      Ne tohi foki ha fefine ʻe taha ne ne toʻo e lau ko ʻeni ʻa Dr Vakaʻuta ʻi he Feispuká ʻo hiki ki heʻene pēsí ʻo pehē:
      Ko e konivēsio ʻeni ke fakangofua e kakai fefiné ke nau maʻu ʻa e faingamālie ko e tangatá pe ne maʻu he senituli ʻeni ʻe fiha pea ke toʻo e ngaahi fakakehekehe ʻoku fai ki he kakai fefiné.

      Meʻa fakamamahi ko e kau ʻa hotau kakai fefine ʻi Tonga ʻi he kemipeini ke fakafepakiʻi e feinga maʻa kinautolú.
      Kuo fuʻu foʻi fakaholomui lahi ʻeni. Neongo hono talaki falapapauʻi ʻe he puleʻangá mo Minisitā Feʻao Vakatā ʻoku ʻi ai ʻa e ngaahi fakangatangata pea ʻe ʻikai ha kaunoa mai ʻa e CEDAW ia ʻi he ngaahi lao mo e tukufakaholo ʻa e Tonga, ka ʻoku ʻikai pe ha taha ia ʻe fie fanongo pe tokanga ki ai. He toki meʻa fakamā ia, ko e lau ia ʻa e toko taha fefine ko ʻeni ʻi he Feisipuká.

      Kuo tukupā foki ʻa e puleʻangá ke ne tuʻu maʻu pē ʻi heʻene tukave ke fakamoʻoni ʻa Tonga he CEDAW.

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