Don’t forget democracy for Tonga at Pacific Island Forum

Green Party MP Keith Locke believes democracy should feature on the Pacific Island Forum agenda, and should include the situation in the host country, Tonga.

“The talks should not just centre on Fiji and when elections will be held there,” Mr Locke, the Green Party’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, says.

“There is the same need to hasten democratic government in Tonga, which is currently ruled under a state of emergency.

“Politeness to the host Government should not stop Forum leaders from addressing this issue particularly in the wake of the civil disturbance last November.

“The Forum should ask the Tongan Government to remove barriers to negotiations between the monarchy and the democracy movement. These obstacles include a state of emergency which is not justified by any current security threat; media restrictions on the coverage of opposition views; and the trial of five of the nine elected MPs on sedition charges.

“I hope our Prime Minister will not forget the need for democracy in Tonga when she is at the Forum,” Mr Locke says.