Commitment to Dialogue between Government and CSO's

27/02/2012 14:28

17 February

The consultation looking into Tonga’s second Universal Periodic Review
(UPR) report has ended on a high note.  Both Government and Non
Government Organizations have committed to ongoing dialogue and making
the process of developing both the State and CSO report transparent
and inclusive.

“Whist we have our own [CSO] taskforce and will be looking into
developing a separate CSO report, we will still need the collaboration
of Government in providing critical information on the implementation
of the accepted recommendations coming out of Tonga’s first report –
as well as adding our own useful information from the CSO sector and a
meaningful analysis of what has happened since” says ‘Ofa
Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Director of the Women and Children Crisis Centre

The CSO taskforce was established in 2011 specifically to look into
monitoring of human rights issues and violations in Tonga.  The
current secretariat is the Civil Society Forum on Tonga (CSFT) with
membership of several NGOs in Tonga whose core focus is in the area of
promoting and upholding human rights in Tonga.  Meanwhile the Tonga
Cabinet also endorsed a Government Taskforce on the second UPR report
which consists of the Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Crown Law.

The CSO taskforce identified a timeframe for producing its report by
end of May with submission to the Tonga Government in June and
thereafter the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights
(OHCHR) who will be responsible for submitting the CSO UPR report to
Geneva ahead of the State Report submission.

“we are committed to this time-frame and will prioritiZe the
development of the CSO report because we see this as an effective way
of communicating to Government what we are experiencing at the grass
roots and what human rights issues are coming out from most vulnerable
groups in society and in-turn it’s an opportunity for government to
highlight their initiatives – and hopefully we can commit to coming up
with solutions together in sustaining and improving Human Rights
standards in Tonga” says Guttenbeil-Likiliki.

The consultation was hosted by the Government of Tonga with the
assistance of a team from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s
(SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), the Pacific Islands Forum
Secretariat (PIFS) and the UN Office for the High Commissioner for
Human Rights (OHCHR) with the financial support by the Kingdom of


For more information please contact ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki on