Tonga

Tongan advocate to keep pushing for women's treaty's ratification

Tonga's human rights record came under scrutiny last week as part of a periodic review at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Many states expressed concerns that Tonga had not ratified key agreements like the Convention Against Torture and the Convention for the Elimination of all Forms Discrimination Against Women, known as CEDAW.

The director of Tonga's Women and Children Crisis Centre, 'Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki, said public misconceptions about CEDAW were that it would pave the way for same sex marriage and lead to abortion being legalised.

Tongan rugby league tackles challenge of building on World Cup success

Now, the Tongan programme faces a challenge familiar to most underdog New Zealand sports teams that have over-achieved on the world stage - how to make that success sustainable.  

But local administrators are adamant that further international glory - maybe even World Cup victory - is only a matter of time.

The real first test of this belief comes this week, when Tonga's Auckland-based U16 and U18 age group teams contest the Pasifika Youth Cup tournament, hosted by the New Zealand Warriors and New Zealand Maori Rugby League.

Tonga's PM out of hospital and 'in good health'

'Akilisi Pohiva had been in the local Intensive Care Unit since the 5th of January and was unable to attend the opening of Parliament six days later.

However, the prime minister did make a brief appearance at the swearing of MPs on 18 January but was accompanied by a doctor and left early.

The Prime Minister's Office said Mr Pohiva was discharged over the weekend and contrary to local media reports he was not suffering from cancer.

It is the first official statement on the prime minister's health since he was admitted to hospital.

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King advises MPs of their role

That is, they should read and clearly understand the laws, Constitution and the House’s Rules and Standing Orders.

The Number 3 Noble Representative, Lord Vaha’i conveyed the King’s message to Parliament when it was in session.

Lord Vaha’i said the King warmly welcomed himself and Tongatapu 5 MP, Losaline Ma’asi during their audience last Friday.

In addition, Ma’asi said the King Tupou VI advised MPs they should read and understand the law, Constitution, Bills or the Houses’ Rules and Standing Orders before engaging in Parliament’s discussion.

Internal Affairs Ministry embarks on improving services

Minister of Internal Affairs ‘Akosita Lavulavu told Kaniva News her Ministry would help town reunions because the strong participation of members who lived overseas would help generate sources of income for their community development.

Annual sporting tournaments including football and netball were planned for each town and island.

Revealing details of the Ministry’s 100-day plan, Lavulavu said it included an effort to improve its reputation after it was the subject of the second highest number of public complaints to the Ombudsman.

Tonga King makes 2 more ministerial appointments

The confirmation came after the Prime Minister had an audience with His Majesty King Tupou VI on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister “recommended” himself to the king to be appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Lord Ma’afu to become Minister of His Majesty’s Armed Forces.

The meeting was called after what appeared to be a clash between the power of the Prime Minister to nominate “all his cabinet ministers” and the power of the king as Commander-in-Chief of the forces on land and sea to appoint “all officers” at His Majesty’s Armed Forces, emerged.

UK urges Tonga to sign human rights treaties

In a statement issued to coincide with the United Nations’ review of Tonga’s human rights record, the UK encouraged Tonga to establish a National Human Rights Institution in compliance with the Paris Principles.

It said Tonga should take the following steps:

Tonga PM returns to hospital after Cabinet Ministers swearing in ceremony

It is understood his doctor accompanied him to Parliament.

Pōhiva missed the first sitting of Parliament last week because he was in intensive care.

No details about his illness have been released.

During yesterday morning’s sitting Ha’apai MP Veivosa Taka was re-appointed as the Whole House Committee Chair.

Tongatapu MP Losaline Mā’asi and Noble’s Representative Lord Vaha’i were assigned to submit the House’s response to the King’s message from the throne.

Tongan PM and MPs sworn in

Today's sitting was the first since the November snap election triggered by the royal dissolution of parliament over concerns surrounding the previous Pohiva government's conduct.

It was also the first sitting since last week's opening, which Mr Pohiva missed because he had been admitted into the local Intensive Care Unit.

There's been scant information about the prime minister's health, prompting local media to complain about the silence from his office.

Tongan activist calls for women to have property rights

Under the constitution, it is still strictly enforced that women have restrictions to the ownership of land.

Women who wish to use land for any purpose including for cultivation can only lease land for temporary use.

The Ministry of Women's Affairs in Tonga was created at the end of 2012 and started discussions then on reviewing women's land rights by pushing to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Discrimination against Women.

Activist David Tilton said this shuts women out of opportunities to make revenue.