The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities in Tonga to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Tonga's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
and the International Religious Freedom Reports
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
The protection of human rights and the fostering of democratic institutions in the country are top priorities of the U.S. Government. The United States maintains dialogue with all political factions, including the prodemocracy movement, with the goal of encouraging progress on political and electoral reforms launched by the government. The United States also focuses on building the capacity of prodemocracy NGOs and nascent political parties to ensure the successful implementation of these reforms. The United States is working to promote political reconciliation and dialogue between prodemocracy and conservative forces. The United States engages with the government and civil society to develop programs that promote free and fair elections, the rule of law, good governance, and judicial independence. The United States promotes transparency, accountability, and a commitment to representative government.
Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance
U.S. officials frequently engage senior officials, journalists, media organizations, and other civil society activists to underscore the importance of democratic reforms, human rights, rule of law, and good governance. The United States has funded local NGOs to hold voter education workshops. Through the International Visitor Leadership Program, media representatives and democracy and human rights activists travel to the United States to learn about grassroots democracy, the media's role in a democracy, and the U.S. electoral system. In 2008 a civil servant traveled to the United States to study legislative drafting, and a civil society activist visited the United States to study public policy.
Through education, training programs, and joint exercises, U.S. officials engage with the military to reinforce proper civil-military relations and advance overall respect for human rights.