King revokes cabinet decision to sign CEDAW

    The king of Tonga has  revoked the Cabinet’s decision to sign the United Nations’ Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discriminations Against Women (CEDAW).

    His Majesty’s Privy Council sent a letter to Chief Secretary and Secreatary to Cabinet claiming CEDAW is a treaty and only the king has the constitutional right to sign it and not the Cabinet.

    It said the king has never authorised any of the minsters to ratify CEDAW.

    The Privy Council said it demanded cabinet to immediately request annulment of Tonga’s ratification from the United Nations.

    “We remit to our ministers forthwith to proceed as may be necessary to annul the kingdom of Tongaʻs signature or ratification of the CEDAW treaty” the letter said.

    The Privy Council said its decision was made in acknowledgement of petitions submitted to His Majesty King Tupou VI  by thousands of petitioners two months ago.

    The petitioners, which mostly women and church groups, feared that CEDAW would open the door to legalise same sex marriage and abortion.

    Questionable

    The Privy Council’s letter on June 26 was questionable in some respects.

    The Privy Council claimed Tonga has already ratified CEDAW.

    In fact Tonga has not yet signed CEDAW and the Prime Minister has publicly announced government was expecting further consultation and public  discussion on the convention before government continues to ratify it.

    Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva said he and his Cabinet have the power to sign any convention Tonga agreed to ratify.

    The Privy Council referred to CEDAW as a treaty instead of using the word convention. Treaty is the term written in the Tongan constitution saying only the king can sign Bill of Rights agreement.

    Clause 39 of the constitution says: “It shall be lawful for the King to make treaties with Foreign States provided that such treaties shall be in accordance with the laws of the Kingdom”.

    The Privy Council’s letter says His Majesty according to advice from His law lords acknowledged the concerns of 13, 048 petitioners who appealed to the king to intervene with government’s move to sign CEDAW.

    Critics previously claimed the number of petitioners that protested against CEDAW which now government stated it was 13,048 did not actually reflect the will of the majority. More than 90, 000 people in Tonga did not join the protest marches nor they signed the petitions.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Kuo fakatokanga ʻa e Fakataha Tokoni ʻa Tongá ki he Kapinetí ʻoku ʻikai hano mafai fakalao ke ne fakamoʻoni ai ki he Konivēsio ke Toʻo Fakaʻaufuli ʻa Hono Fakakehekeheʻi ʻo e Kakai Fefiné pe ʻoku ʻiloa ko e CEDAW.

      Neongo ʻoku teʻeki fakamoʻoni ʻa Tonga he CEDAW kuo pehē ʻe he Fakataha Tokoní ia kuo tuku atu ʻene fiemaʻu ki he Kapinetí ke fakahū atu leva ha kole ke fakataʻeʻaongaʻi e fakamoʻoni ʻa Tonga ʻi he konivēsioó ni mei he Puleʻanga Fakatahatahá.

      ʻI heʻene tohi ʻi he ʻaho 26 ʻo Sune ne pehē ai ʻe he Fakataha Tokoní ko e ngāue ne fai ʻe he puleʻangá ki he CEDAW ʻoku fepaki ia mo e mafai fakakonisitūtone ʻo e tuʻí.

      ʻI he kupu 39 ʻo e konisitūtoné ʻoku pehē ai ko e tuʻí pe ʻoku mafai ke fakamoʻoni ki ha talite ʻa Tonga mo ha toe fonua kehe.

      Pehē ʻe he Fakataha Tokoní ne teʻeki ke ne fakamafaiʻi ʻa e kau minisitaá ke fakamoʻoniʻi he CEDAW.

      ʻOku fakaʻalongaua e tohi ʻa e Fakataha Tokoní he ʻoku ne tala ʻe ia kuo fakamoʻoni ʻa Tonga he CEDAW taimi tatau ʻoku teʻeki ai.

      ʻOku ʻikai ngāueʻaki ʻi he tohi ʻa e Fakataha Tokoni ʻa e lea ko e konivesio hangē ko ia kuo ui ʻaki ʻa e CEDAW ka nau ngaue ʻaki ʻe kinautolu ʻa e lea ko e talite pe treaty.

      Ngali ko hono ngāueʻaki ʻo e lea talité koeʻuhī ke fenāpasi mo e fakalea ʻa e konisitūtoné ʻo pehē ko e tuʻi pe ʻoku mafai ki hano fakamoʻoniʻi ha talite.

      Ko e CEDAW ko e konivesio ia pea ʻokú na ʻuhinga kehekehe fakalao pe mo e talité.

      Kuo fakahā ʻe he puleʻangá ko e mafai ke fakamoʻoni ʻi ha konivēsio ʻoku ʻi he kapinetí pe ia mo e puleʻangá.

      ʻOku pehē ʻe he Fakataha Tokoní ko ʻene tuʻutuʻuni ʻeni fakatatau ki he mokoi ʻo e tuʻí ʻi ha faleʻi ʻe heʻene kau ʻeiki laó ke tali e tangi ʻa e toko 13, 048 ne laka mo tangi ki he ʻEne ʻAfió ke taʻofi e fakamoʻoni ʻa Tonga he konivēsio ko ʻení.

      Ka ne ʻosi pehē ʻe he kau fakaangá ki muʻa ʻoku ʻikai totonu ke lau ia ʻoku fakafofongaʻi moʻoni ʻe he fika ko ʻení ʻa e tokolahi ʻo e loto kotoa ʻo e kakaí fekauʻaki mo e alea he CEDAW.

      Ko e toko taha mano tupu ʻeni ne fakamoʻoni he ngaahi tohi tangí ko ʻení pea naʻe lahi hono fehuʻia e kau fakamoʻoni he tohi tangi ko ia ʻo kau ai ʻa e kau leka ako ne fekauʻi ʻe ha kau faiakó ke nau fakamoʻoni taʻe te nau ʻilo ko e hā ko ā ʻa e meʻa ne nau fakamoʻoni ai.

      Naʻe toe fehuʻia ʻe he kau fakaangá pe ʻe fēfē leva ʻa e toko 9 mano tupu ia ne ʻikai ke nau laka mo fakamoʻoni ki he tohi tangi ko ʻení pea ʻi ai mo e tokolahi ʻoku nau loto pe kinautolu ke fakamoʻoni ʻa Tonga he CEDAW.

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