International Pacific

Tongan Civil Society Forum clears misunderstanding in UN’s Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

The Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), is a treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 as an international bill for the rights of women.

Recent public discussions in Tonga about the convention, created misunderstanding and manipulation of the UN Convention.

The Tongan Civil Society Forum, an umbrella body for non-government organisations in Tonga, stands by the CEDAW.

The chairman of the Civil Society’s Board of Directors, Drew Havea, told Radio and Television Tonga that the convention had no particular statement in the treaty that supported gay marriage or abortion. However, it does give the right to make those choices and it recognises land rights through gender equality.

Havea commented saying “We as Tongans look at the issue from a negative angle where we all believe that this might lead to a problem that we Tongans will regret later. But if we stick to the context of the Convention alone there will be no problem.”

Mr Havea also claimed that churches should reconsider the issue as it concerns the moral of women. Adding that he has two daughters living overseas but the land he owns belongs to his sons and the daughters can’t return because there isn’t enough land for them and their families.

 “…. It is a pity that i cannot help them according to the law of Tonga. It is therefore important that we practice respect, reciprocity and willingness to help one another and not vice versa.” Havea said. 

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