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Laptop saved for Democracy movement in Tonga


Christian World Service

communications@cws.org.nz / www.cws.org.nz


Media Release

Monday, November 20, 2006

Laptop saved for Democracy movement in Tonga

The office of Tonga’s Friendly Islands Human Rights and Democracy movement has been destroyed by fire; all that remains is a laptop. The Methodist Church building in which the FIHRDM office is located was destroyed, amidst the recent tensions and unrest in the capital, Nuku’alofa.

Christian World Service, the justice, aid and development agency of the New Zealand Churches has been a long-term supporter of this grassroots movement for human rights and democracy reform in Tonga. CWS is this week appealing to its member churches to show their support and concern for its partners during this time of unrest and destruction.

CWS has been informed that the FIHRDM has met with the People’s Committee for political reform, to determine what action can be taken to ease tensions in the community. This committee includes members of parliament, the Public Service Association, Friendly Islands Teachers Association, Tonga Business Association and other stakeholders.

CWS is concerned that undue criticism has been directed toward the democracy movement for the recent level of unrest, and that this could jeopardise the good work and momentum for political reform that has been steadily growing over many years.

“The Human Rights and Democracy movement has for many years, carefully, respectfully and peacefully worked towards greater freedoms for all Tongans,” says Elizabeth Mackie, CWS Projects Team member. “We sincerely hope that these organisations will find ways to move forward. We trust that the movement for democratic reform in Tonga will keep hope alive and continue to provide leadership in these difficult times.”

CWS recognises that the FIHRDM has worked for a long time to raise greater awareness about democracy and negotiate with the Monarchy and others in parliament for constitutional change to give the Tongan people greater participation in the management of their own country.

Ends

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