Independence and accountability necessary as Tonga maps out political future

20/05/2010 16:40

The role of the Tongan government is under scrutiny with the Attorney General’s resignation as Tonga maps out its political future – and the outcome matters to women and children the most.

Placing the powers of the Attorney General back under the Ministry of Justice indicates that true independence of the judiciary is not a priority.

The WCCC believes that independence strengthens the role of the judiciary, executive and legislature, and this strength will mean that it is more likely the realities of women and children are taken into account. The time is now to begin talking about why we need stronger legislation to protect women and children.

A Government with a just and fair system will provide more opportunities for women not only in their daily needs but overall in the political process. This will empower women and enable them to stand up for their rights and these will address some important issues because women are a particularly vulnerable group that suffer from the injustice in the government decisions.

‘Ofakilevuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Director of WCCC said “Our Government has a national commitment to promote equitable representation at all levels of the political process and public life but so far all the discussions about political reform have ignored the role of women”.

The Women and Children Crisis Centre calls on those who are considering campaigning to consider the rights of women and children as a platform.

“It is clear that we need to make some national changes to improve the lives of women and children. We need to promote women in decision making roles and to use policy and the law to empower women” said Guttenbeil-Likiliki.

The WCCC urges people to consider what democracy means for Tonga and what kind of legal rights citizens should be demanding to improve the lives of women and children.