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Lobby to decriminalize attempted suicide charges

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 11/09/2018

The Acting Attorney General believes that Tonga should decriminalized attempted suicide charges and for the related stakeholders to come in and assist the victim psychologically.

‘Aminiasi Kefu says a recommendation has been made to the Government to repeal this Act.

He says the initiative is yet to be finalized but the issue will be submitted to Cabinet soon.

We believe it is not right to charge anyone with attempted suicide. We also know that the Act on suicide is still active. There’s has been an agreement with the related partners in this committee to suggest to the Government to repeal this Act and instead of charging the victim; the related stakeholders should come in to help. It’s not a wise decision to charge an attempted suicide victim because it will add more pressure to the victim’s current psychological situation,” he said.

Kefu raised the issue yesterday during a panel discussion on the World Suicide Prevention Day with the theme “Working Together to Prevent Suicide”.

Another member of the panel Dr Siale ‘Akauola came out to support the initiative and also highlighted the need to help those who have attempted suicide.

Some of the victims of suicide are from families with domestic violence background, some experience bullying, alcohol and drugs. Some committed suicide because of the pressure from the society including high expectations for them to fulfill but they cannot accomplish these with their capabilities. This also includes some people failing their exams,” he said.

Yesterday, Tonga marked The World Prevention Suicide Day.

The Minister of Internal Affairs – Losaline Ma’asi during the program says, since January to date, six people have committed suicide and the victims are under the age of 40.

She strongly urged the related stakeholders to work collaboratively to minimize the number of suicide victim in Tonga.

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