Legal mandate – Tonga

Legal mandate – Tonga

Government sources:


Questions and answers, ADF support to Tonga – update, Department of Defence, Media release CPA 309/06 20 November 2006

Are we supporting or opposing the pro-democracy movement?

Australian forces have deployed at the request of the Tongan Government.  We are there to help the Tongan Security Forces re-establish stability.

Did Australia receive an official request from Tonga to help restore security?

Yes, an official request from the Tongan Government was received on 17 November. The Tongan Government requested Australia to provide police and military personnel to assist with law and order in their country.

Kingdom of Tonga

Government Acts to Restore Order in Nuku’alofa, Government of Tonga media release, 17 November 2006

“The Privy Council today extended the emergency powers available to the Police Force and Tonga Defense Services to re-establish order in the capital city.  In addition to meeting with the King, Cabinet Ministers were in virtually continuous session across the day, inspecting damage, receiving briefings from officials, meeting with 10 of Tonga’s Church Leaders, and liaising with foreign diplomatic missions. After a night of arson, looting and threats to people and property, a semblance of peace had returned to the city centre in daylight.

“Sporadic reports of small groups of youths drinking and attempting to ransack property continued to emerge. In addition to the destruction of large blocks of the capital’s buildings, there has been tragic loss of life. Police have reported that 8 bodies have found in two buildings that were burned to the ground…. 

“Most airlines had cancelled flights due to concern about security. But the Minister of Transport has advised that New Zealand and Australian security personnel have been authorized to travel to Tonga to assist with airport security and they will arrive this weekend. ….Discussions with Diplomatic Missions are under way about support for the Police and Defence Services in restoring order.  Further announcements will be made as soon as they are known. “

Emergency Powers Act (Cap 45) 2006

In exercise of the powers conferred by sections 2 of the Emergency Powers Act (Cap 45) His Majesty in Council makes the following regulations:

    1. These regulations shall come into effect on 17 November 2006, and shall be effective for 30 days unless otherwise extended by an order of Cabinet.
    2. Cabinet shall have the powers to make orders for the purpose of securing the public safety and the maintenance of public order in Tonga.
    3. Any person authorised by Cabinet, and every member of the Tonga Police Force and the Tonga Defence Services, shall for the purposes of preserving public order and securing the public safety, have power to…..”

Emergency Powers regulations 2007, Government of Tonga, media release, 16 May 2007

These regulations shall come into effect on 16 May 2007, and shall be effective for 30 days unless otherwise extended by an order of Cabinet….”

Emergency powers (public safety and public order) regulations 2007 (regulation 2), Cabinet (extension of emergency powers) order 2007, Government of Tonga, media release, 12 November 2007

“In exercise of the power conferred by regulation 2 of the Emergency Powers (Maintenance of Public Order) Regulations 2007, His Majesty’s Cabinet hereby makes the following Order:

    • 1. This Order may be cited as the Cabinet (Extension of Emergency Powers) Order 2007.
    • 2. That the Emergency Powers (Public Safety and Public Order) Regulations 2007, shall be extended for 30 days
    • “Made at Nuku’alofa on this 9th day of November 2007, Hon Feleti V. Sevele, Prime Minister.

Proclamation – Public Order (Preservation) Act (Cap38) (Sections 3(1) and (4))

“In the exercise of the power conferred by sections 3(1) and 3(4) of the Public Order (Preservation) Act (Cap 38) the Prime Minister renews the Proclamation made on 16 February 2007 by 30 days, acting on the advice of the Minister of Police, is still of the opinion that public order in the following area continues to be seriously threatened, and it is necessary for the purpose of maintaining public order to make this Proclamation, it is hereby proclaimed that there continues to exist a state of danger in the following area, and effective from this day, the following area shall continue to be a Proclaimed Area:

“Intersection of Vuna Road and ‘Alipate Road, to the intersection of ‘Alipate Road and Mateialona Rd, and then to the intersection of Mateialona Road and Tupoulahi Road, and then travelling north to the intersection of Tupoulahi Road and Vuna Road, back to the intersection of Vuna Road and ‘Alipate Road.

“And this Proclaimed Area shall be controlled and maintained by the Tonga Police Force and Tonga Defence Services for the sole purpose of maintaining public order for all the people of the country. Made at Nuku’alofa on this 16th day of March 2007.”

Commentary and analysis

Tonga issues call for help, TVNZ, 17 November 2006

Tonga has requested Australia and New Zealand send police and troops to help ensure calm in the capital Nuku’alofa following violent pro-democracy riots, a Tongan government spokesman said on Friday. The request came after a meeting of Tonga’s cabinet and as the death toll from Thursday’s riots reached eight. Lopeti Senituli, a spokesman for Tonga’s Prime Minister Fred Sevele, told Reuters Tonga had asked Australia and New Zealand for about 150 troops and police, and said they were due to arrive in Tonga late Friday.

See also:

Rules of engagement – Tonga