TONGA URGED TO CLOSE RAPE LAW LOOPHOLES

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Many offences now fall under ‘indecent assault’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 11, 2010) – A Tongan agency that cares for the victims of sexual and domestic violence wants to see Tonga’s new government re-write the country’s laws on rape.

Ofa ki-levuka Guttenbeil Likiliki of the Women’s and Children’s Crisis Centre says the current law defines rape too narrowly, and allows many offences to be charged under the lesser penalty of indecent assault.

[PIR editor’s note: Ofa ki-levuka Guttenbeil Likiliki is director of the Women’s and Children’s Crisis Center in Tonga.]

"What we are trying to lobby for here is a whole new definition around rape law, to take into consideration the cases that the centre has received in the past or the different types of rape that have happened in Tonga, not only among women and young girls but there’s also rape among young boys as well. And so we would like to see a more comprehensive definition on rape."

Ofa ki-levuka Guttenbeil Likiliki says her organization also wants rape within a marriage recognized as a crime.

Tonga goes to the polls in two weeks to elect a mostly democratic parliament for the first time.

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