Minister vows to establish children’s court and restorative justice system for Tonga

    Tonga’s Minister of Justice, Vuna Fāʻotusia, has revealed work is underway to establish a Children’s Court and a restorative justice system for victims.

    Hon. Fāʻotusia said the current justice system dealt only with punishing offenders and nothing was done to make sure the lives and welfare of victims of crime were restored to the way they were before the crime took place.

    Speaking in Parliament, he said the need for the new justice system for Tonga was long overdue.

    The Minister’s announcement came after a report released in the United Kingdom listed Tonga as one of the countries where the court system was ineffective in defending children’s rights.

    The list ranked 197 countries from number 1 as the best down to number 197. Tonga was ranked number  165 while its neighbours,  Fiji was placed 116 and Samoa was in number 105.

    “Two things I want to tell you members, there is work underway to establish the juvenile court, and the rights of the victims – the restorative system,” Hon. Fa’otusia told the House.

    Fāʻotusia was responding after Lord Vaea told the House he wanted the government to establish juvenile courts for children under 18.

    The noble was concerned that children under 18 were sentenced in Tongan courts with the same laws used to sentence those regarded as adults.

    Lord Vaea said it would be wise to have a special court to take care of children when they committed offences.

    He said he felt that under the current system children were affected, especially when it comes to crime of sexual abuse.

    Children and justice

    The Child Rights International Network (CRIN) 2016 Report was released in Britain on February 15.

    Entitled Rights, Remedies and Representation, it condensed  findings from 197 country reports, researched with the support of hundreds of lawyers and NGOs.

    It said the report was not a ranking of how well countries protect children’s rights, but of how well states enabled children to access justice and enforce their rights.

    “Nonetheless, it is hard to ignore the fact that the countries with the most deplorable human rights records do not score well on access to justice,” the report said.

    Writing in the report’s forward, the Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Benyam Dawit Mezmur, said: “I hope this study is only the beginning of a new shift in making access to justice for children a priority that will enable other rights to be fulfilled.”

    The main points

    • Tonga’s Minister of Justice, Vuna Fa’otusia, has revealed work is underway to establish a Children’s Court and a restorative justice system for victims.
    • Fa’otusia said the current justice system dealt only with punishing offenders and nothing was done to make sure the lives and welfare of victims of crime were restored to the way they were before the crime took place.
    • Speaking in Parliament, he said the need for a new justice systems for Tonga was long overdue.
    • The Minister’s announcement came in the wake of a report released in the United Kingdom listed Tonga as one the countries where the court system was ineffective in defending children’s rights.

    For more information 

    Rights, Remedies and Representation (full report)

    United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child

    1 COMMENT

    1. Kuo fakahā ʻe he Minisitā Lao ʻa Tongá Vuna Fāʻotusia ʻoku lolotonga ʻi ai ʻa e ngāue ke fokotuʻu ha Fakamaauʻanga ki he Fānaú mo ha sisitemi fakafakamaauʻanga ki hono fakafokifoki e moʻui ʻa kinautolu ne hoko ki ai ha hia.

      Ne pehē ʻe ʻOnalapolo Fāʻotusia ko e sisitemi fakafakamaauʻanga ʻoku ngāueʻaki he lolotonga ní ko hono tauteaʻi pe ʻo e kau faihiá kae ʻikai fai ha meʻa ia ki he moʻui ʻa kinautolu ne fakahoko ki ai ʻa e hiá ke fakafokifoki ʻenau moʻui ki he tuʻunga ne nau ʻi ai teʻeki fakamamahiʻi kinautolú.

      ʻI haʻane meʻa ki he Fale Aleá ne ne pehē kuo fuoloa pe fiemaʻu ʻo e sisitemi fakafakamaauʻanga foʻou ko ʻení ki Tonga.

      Ko hano fakahā ʻeni ʻe he minisitaá hili ia hano tuku mai ʻo ha līpooti mei Pilitānia ʻoku lisi ai ʻa Tonga ko e taha ia ʻo e ngaahi fonua ʻoku ʻikai ola lelei ai hono fakaai ʻe heʻene sisitemi fakamaauʻangá ʻa hono maluʻi e totonu ʻa e fānaú.

      Ko hano tānaki tuʻunga ʻeni ʻo ha ngaahi fonua ʻe 197 mei he fika 1 ʻa ia ko e lelei tahá ia ʻo lele hifo ai ki he fika 197. Naʻe fika 165 ʻa Tonga lolotonga iá ko hono ongo fonua kaungāʻapí, ne fika 116 ʻa Fisi kae fika 105 ʻa Haʻamoa.

      Ne fakahā foki ʻe Looti Vaea ki he Falé ʻa ʻene fiemaʻu ke fokotuʻu ʻe he puleʻangá ha fakamaauʻanga maʻa e fānau ʻa ia ʻokuʻi lalo honau taʻú ʻi he taʻu 18.

      Ne hohaʻa ʻa e nōpelé he mahino ʻoku hilifaki ʻe he ngaahi fakamaauʻanga ʻi Tongá e tautea ki he fānau ʻi lalo he taʻu 18 ʻaki pe ʻa e lao tatau kia kinautolu ʻoku lau ko e kakai lalahí.

      Ne meʻa ʻa Looti Vaea ʻo pehē ʻoku totonu ke ʻi ai pe ha fakamaauʻanga makehe ke ne tokangaʻi ʻa e fānaú he taimi ʻoku nau faihia aí.

      Ne ne toe meʻa foki ʻo pehē ʻokú ne ongoʻi pe ʻoku uesia ʻa e fānaú ʻi he sisitemi fakafakamaauʻanga lolotongá tautefito ki he taimi ʻoku lave ai ki he ngaahi meʻafakalieliá (Hūfanga he fakatapú).

      Ko e līpooti ʻení ne tuku mai ʻe he Child Rights International Network (CRIN) 2016 Report ʻi he ʻaho 15 ʻo Fepuelí.

      Naʻe ui ko e Remedies and Representation ʻo faʻolaki ki ai ʻa e ola ʻo ha ngaahi fakatotolo mei he ngaahi fonua ʻe 197 ʻa ia ne poupoua ʻe ha kau loea mo ha ngaahi sino ʻikai fakapuleʻanga ʻe lau teau.
      Ne pehē foki ko e tānaki tuʻunga ko ʻeni kuo tuku mai ʻe he līpōtí ʻoku ʻikai ko hano fokotuʻutuʻu mai ia e lelei ʻo hano maluʻi ʻe he ngaahi fonua ko iá e totonu ʻa e fānaú, ka ko hano tānaki tuʻunga pe ʻo na e lelei hono hanga ʻe he ngaahi fonuá ʻo fakaai ke lava ʻa e fānaú ʻo maʻu ha fakamaauʻanga maʻa kinautolu mo teke ʻenau totonú.
      Neongo ia ʻoku faingataʻa ke tukunoaʻi e moʻoni ko e ngaahi fonua ko ē ʻoku lekooti kovi taha ai hono teke e totonu ʻa e tangatá ko kinautolu ia ʻoku maaka kovi taha ʻi he ʻikai ke maʻu ʻa e faingamālie ki hono kumia e fakamaautotonú, ko e lau ia ʻa e līpōtí.
      ʻI haʻane tohi he talamuʻaki ʻo e līpōtí ne pehē ai ʻe he Sea ʻo e Kōmiti ʻa e Puleʻanga Fakatahatahá ki he Totonu ʻa e Fānaú, Benyam Dawit Mezmur, ʻokú ne ʻamanaki ko e fakatotolo ko í ko ha kamata ia ʻo ha hīkinga foʻou ke fakamuʻomuʻa hono fakaʻatā e matapā maʻa e fānaú ki he fakamaau totonú ʻa ia ʻe lava ai ke toe fakaʻatā ki ha ngaahi totonu kehe.

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