15th session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group
Geneva, 21 January to 1 February 2013
UPR on Tonga
Statement by Norway
Thank you Mr. President,
Norway would like to thank Tonga’s delegation for the presentation of their national report and recognizes the country’s efforts in preparation for the UPR review. Norway acknowledges that Tonga has taken important steps towards democratic reform in recent years.
Norway views effective cooperation with the UN Human Rights mechanisms as fundamental in order to improve the human rights situation on the ground. We note that commitments to ratify important human rights conventions at the previous UPR cycle have still not been implemented. We therefore recommend that Tonga takes steps to ratify the ICCPR, the ICESCR, the CEDAW and the CAT.
We are concerned about reports of high levels of domestic violence. In this respect Norway notes with concern that Tonga does not criminalize rape that takes place within marriage. Norway recommends that Tonga introduces and implements a comprehensive legal framework to protect women and girls against all forms of gender-based violence, and in particular that it introduces legislation that prohibits domestic violence and immediately criminalises rape within marriage. Norway also notes with concern that Tonga’s legislation discriminates against women within the field of inheritance. We recommend that Tonga amends its legislation to include the principle of equality between men and women and give men and women equal rights of inheritance.
Furthermore, Norway recommends that Tonga bring its national legislation into conformity with its commitment to equality and non-discrimination, by repealing the provision in the Penal Code to criminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex.
Finally, Norway notes that Tonga has not used capital punishment since 1982. We therefore recommend that Tonga takes the necessary steps to abolish the death penalty.
Fifteenth session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group
Advance questions from Norway:
UPR of Tonga
- In the 2008 UPR Tonga accepted recommendations to ratify i.a. ICCPR, ICESCR, CEDAW and CAT, however has not yet done so. Can Tonga explain why the government has failed to ratify these instruments?
- Which measures will Tonga take in order to ensure equality between men and women, including as relates to ownership of land and the right of women to inherit property?
- It has been reported that police officers have been involved in the maltreatment and death of civilians. What steps have the Tongan government taken to address this issue and prevent it happening again?
- Which measures will Tonga take in order to improve the possibility of achieving Millennium Development Goal 3, to Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women, and is Tonga considering taking concrete steps to increase the number of women in decision making positions?