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Tonga

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
n/a
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
6%

* Références

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
n/a
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
6%

* Références

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.

What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?

6% of girls and 6% of boys in Tonga are married before their 18th birthday.

Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are somehow inferior to men and boys.

There is very limited information on child marriage in Tonga, but available data suggests that it is exacerbated by:

  • Violence against girls: Some young girls are forced to marry perpetrators who rape them. This decision is largely driven by a girl’s family to prevent shame upon the family.

Family honour: Human Rights Watch reported that some girls are married off if they are seen with boys, in a bid to protect their honour.

What has this country committed to?

Tonga has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Tonga acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1995, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18. In 2019, the Committee of the Rights of the Child expressed serious concerns that several laws are not in line with the Convention, and recommended Tonga to revise the definition of a child and set the minimum age for marriage at 18 years.

Tonga is one of few countries that has not signed or ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

In 2018, the UN country team in Tonga recommended that the government declare marriages taking place with people below the minimum legal age as void ab initio, meaning that they should have no legal basis under any pretext, including custom, religion and traditional practice. Furthermore, it recommended increasing punishment for perpetrators to be commensurate with the seriousness of the offence.

During its 2018 Universal Periodic Review, Tonga supported recommendations to modify national legislation to prohibit child marriage and increase the minimum age of marriage to 18.

In 2019, at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, Tonga committed to empower girls and young people to make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health and rights and end sexual and gender-based violence by 2030.

What is the government doing to address this at the national level?

In May 2017, the Ministry of Justice supported the Let Girls be Girls campaign launched by the NGO Talitha Project to end child marriage. The campaign is lobbying for the repeal of the Births, Deaths and Marriage Registration Act 1926 which states that children aged between 15 and 17 can get married with parental permission.

As of 2017, the Ministry of Justice was consulting on amendments to marriage laws, including raising the minimum legal age of marriage. In 2018, Tonga also reported that the Women’s Affairs Department was developing awareness raising activities and consultations in relation to the ratification of CEDAW.

In 2016, Deputy Speaker of the House, Lord Tuʻiʻāfitu, told Parliament he is shocked by child marriage in Tonga and referred to the Parent Consent Act 1926 as “embarrassing”.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

As per Section 6 of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act the minimum age of marriage is 15 years for boys and girls.

Boys and girls aged 15-17 years require parental consent to be marriage under of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act. The Parent Consent Act 1926 also gives parents power to allow their children to marry.

Source

Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act,http://www.paclii.org/to/legis/consol_act/bdamra383/ (accessed January 2020).

Human Rights Watch, Time for Tonga to End Child Marriage, [website], 2017, https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/08/time-tonga-end-child-marriage (accessed January 2020).

Kaniva Tonga, Child marriage in Tonga “shocking,” Lord Tuʻiʻāfitu says, questions power of Tongan law, [website], 2016, http://kanivatonga.nz/2016/08/child-marriage-tonga-shocking-lord-tu%CA%BBi%CA%BBafitu-says-questions-power-tongan-law/ (accessed January 2020).

Nairobi Summit, Kingdom of Tonga Country Statement on Achieving Zero GBV, Kingdom of Tonga, [website], 2019, http://www.nairobisummiticpd.org/commitment/kingdom-tonga-country-statement-achieving-zero-gbv (accessed January 2020).

Nairobi Summit, Kingdom of Tonga Country Statement on Achieving Zero Unmet Needs, Kingdom of Tonga, [website], 2019, http://www.nairobisummiticpd.org/commitment/kingdom-tonga-country-statement-achieving-zero-unmet-needs-0 (accessed January 2020).

Loop, Let Girls be Girls campaign gains support, [website], 2017, http://www.looptonga.com/tonga-news/%E2%80%9Clet-girls-be-girls%E2%80%9D-campaign-gains-support-60470 (accessed January 2020).

RNZ, “Archaic” Tongan law allows forced marriage to rapists, [website], 2016, http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/311891/%27archaic%27-tongan-law-allows-forced-marriage-to-rapists (accessed January 2020).

Tonga Department of Statistics and Tonga Ministry of Health, Tonga Demographic and Health Survey, 2012, 2013, http://prism.spc.int/images/documents/DHS/2012_Tonga_DHS_Report_Final.pdf (accessed January 2020).

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding observations on the initial report of Tonga, CRC/C/TON/CO/1, 2019, p.4, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC%2fC%2fTON%2fCO%2f1&Lang=en (accessed January 2020).

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial report submitted by Tonga under article 44 of the Convention, CRC/C/TON/1, 2018, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC%2fC%2fTON%2f1&Lang=en (accessed January 2020).

UN General Assembly, Compilation on Tonga Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2017, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/TOindex.aspx (accessed January 2020).

UN General Assembly, Draft report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Tonga, 2018, p.14, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/TOindex.aspx (accessed January 2020).

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5 (accessed January 2020).

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.