Documenting the treatment of detainees and prisoners by security forces in the kingdom of Tonga

This report was written in May 2007. It has 80 pages and was written by the Community Para-legal Taskforce on Human Rights.


The Community Para-legal Taskforce advocates for the protection of the human rights of ALL Tongan citizens, even those alleged to have committed criminal offences. This is a fundamental of our society under the Constitution, the Laws of Tonga and Tonga’s
international law obligations.

The Community Para-legal Taskforce is currently preparing a number of reports on human rights issues emerging from the civil unrest in Nuku’alofa on Thursday 16th November 2006.

This report is the first in this series.

This report documents allegations of ill-treatment of detainees and prisoners by members of the Tonga Police Force and Tonga Defence Service.

Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is prohibited at all times and in all circumstances under international law. Not only is this a requirement under the international human rights conventions to which Tonga is a party, but as a member of the international community, Tonga is bound by the rule of customary international law, which recognises the prohibition of torture and ill treatment as binding on all states whether or not they are parties to treaties which contain the prohibition.

This prohibition is a fundamental value of a democratic society and is absolute in terms that no derogation is permissible even during war or in the event of a public emergency threatening the life of a nation.

The Government and the people of the Kingdom of Tonga must stand tall to protect the moral values of society and respect for the inherent dignity of the human being despite the feelings of anger, revenge and disappointment that we may hold towards the alleged perpetrators of the destruction of Nuku’alofa on 16th November 2006.

The Community Para-legal Taskforce strongly supports the Government of Tonga in its efforts to rebuild Nuku’alofa in accordance with the rule of law and is committed to working with the Government and communities in this respect. The Community Para-Legal Taskforce hopes that the findings of this report will serve as a starting point to commence and further a range of strategies and programs to improve the rights and welfare of persons arrested and detained by Security Forces.


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