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Universal Periodic Review 29: Tonga

This UK statement was delivered during the 29th session of the Universal Period Review during the discussion of Tonga's Human Rights Record on 15 January 2018.

The Universal Periodic Review takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
The Universal Periodic Review takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The UK welcomes the positive steps taken by Tonga since the last UPR, demonstrating its commitment to human rights, particularly the implementation of reforms to advance democracy. We are impressed by the consultations with civil society in the preparation for the UPR. We encourage Tonga to become party to core Human Rights Conventions and to establish a National Human Rights Institution in compliance with the Paris Principles. We also welcome Tonga’s national efforts to promote female candidates in national elections and subsequent increase in female MPs. However, female participation in Tongan politics remains low and we encourage Tonga to further promote the inclusion of women in politics.

The UK remains concerned that Tongan legislation continues to criminalise consensual same sex-conduct. It is encouraging that there have been no recent prosecutions under this legislation, however, we would urge Tonga to repeal all such provisions and ensure anti-discrimination laws also cover sexual orientation.

The UK welcomes Tonga’s membership of the International Labour Organisation in 2016 and we would encourage Tonga to ratify the key ILO conventions.

We recommend:

  1. Ratify the International Labour Organization’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (C. 182) as part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to achieving SDG 8.7.

  2. Ratify and implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and support the disaggregation of SDG Reporting data by disability.

  3. Adopt an open, merit-based process when selecting national candidates for UN Treaty Body elections.

Published 15 January 2018