Human Rights and Democracy Movement

Human Rights and Democracy Movement
Leader‘Uliti Uata
Founded1970s (informal)
1992 (1992) (formal)
Social justice
Women's rights[1]

The Human Rights and Democracy Movement (HRDM) is a political party in Tonga. Its leader is Uliti Uata.

The HRDM was founded in the late 1970s as an informal group of Tongans interested in democratic reform.[1] It was formalised in 1992 as the Pro-Democracy Movement, and contested several elections under that name. In October 1998, it changed its name to the Human Rights and Democracy Movement.[2]

In November 1992 the then-Pro-Democracy Movement held a constitutional convention which discussed the structure and history of the Constitution of Tonga and compared it to arrangements overseas.[3][4] A follow-up convention was held in 1999, but this was less successful.[2]

At the 1999 elections, candidates aligned with the HRDM gained five seats in the Legislative Assembly of Tonga. The results were a disappointment for the HRDM, which had expected to win at least seven seats.[2]

At the 2002 elections, supporters of the HRDM won seven of the nine seats reserved for commoners. At the 2005 elections they also won seven seats, and following the election HRDM-aligned People's Representatives Feleti Sevele and Sione Haukinima were appointed to Cabinet. Sevele later became the first commoner to serve as Prime Minister of Tonga.[5]

At the 2008 elections, the HRDM won only 4 seats.

In the leadup to the 2010 elections several members of the HRDM, including longstanding MP 'Akilisi Pohiva founded the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands as an explicit electoral vehicle.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Human Rights and Democracy Movement in Tonga". Tonga Human Rights and Democracy Movement. Archived from the original on 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
  2. ^ a b c Kerry James (2000). "Polynesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999: Political Review: Tonga". The Contemporary Pacific. 12 (1): 249–253.
  3. ^ Ian Campbell (2005). "The Quest for Constitutional Reform in Tonga". Journal of Pacific History. 40 (1): 91–104. doi:10.1080/00223340500082400.
  4. ^ "Report on the Convention on Constitution and Democracy in Tonga". Tonga Human Rights and Democracy Movement. 1992-11-27. Archived from the original on 2003-09-20. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
  5. ^ "Tonga gets first elected leader". BBC. 2006-02-13. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  6. ^ "Another new political party emerges in Tonga as country prepares for 2010 elections". Radio New Zealand International. 2010-09-06. Retrieved 2010-09-07.

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