Tonga
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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes

Constitution2

Constitution Year 1988
Last Amended As of 1991, last amendment was in 1991
Source UNHCR Refworld
Translation Original was written in English
Current as of 1991 (later amendments not included)

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

1. Declaration of freedom

Since it appears to be the will of God that man should be free as He has made all men of one blood therefore shall the people of Tonga and all who sojourn or may sojourn in this Kingdom be free for ever. And all men may use their lives and persons and time to acquired and possess property and to dispose of their labor and the fruit of their hands and to use their own property as they will.


5. Freedom of worship.

All men are free to practice their religion and to worship God as they may deem fit in accordance with the dictates of their own consciences and to assemble for religious service in such places as they may appoint. But it shall not be lawful to use this freedom to commit evil and licentious acts or under the name of worship to do what is contrary to the law and peace of the land.


6. Sabbath Day to be kept holy.

The Sabbath Day shall be kept holy in Tonga and no person shall practice his trade or profession or conduct and commercial undertaking on the Sabbath Day except according to law; and any agreement made or witnessed on that day shall be null and void and of no legal effect.


28. Qualifications for jurors.

Every male Tongan who has arrived at the age of twenty-one years and can read and write and is not disabled by the twenty-third clause of this Constitution shall be liable to serve on juries and the names of all those who are liable to serve shall be published once every year and anyone who neglects to serve shall be punished as shall be enacted by the Legislature. But members of the Legislative Assembly, ministers of religion, assistant ministers, school-masters, collegians, public servants, guardsmen, artillerymen and all officials of the Government shall be exempt from serving on juries.


34. Coronation oath.

The following oath shall be taken by those who shall succeed to the throne-
"I solemnly swear before Almighty God to keep in its integrity the Constitution of Tonga and to govern in conformity with the laws thereof."


83. Oaths of Councillors and Representatives.

The following oath shall be taken by the members of the Privy Council:
"I solemnly swear before God that I will be truly loyal to His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV the rightful King of Tonga and that I will keep righteously and perfectly the Constitution of Tonga and assist to the end of my power and ability in all things in connection with the Privy council."
The following oath shall be taken by the ministers:
"I solemnly swear before God that I will be truly loyal to His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV the rightful King of Tonga and that I will keep righteously and perfectly the Constitution of Tonga and discharge the duties of my department to the end of my ability for the benefit of the King and his Government".
The following oath shall be taken by the nobles and representatives of the people:
"I solemnly swear before God that I will be truly loyal to His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV the rightful King of Tonga and that I will righteously and perfectly conform to and keep the Constitution of Tonga and zealously discharge my duties as a member of the Legislative Assembly".
The members of the Privy Council shall sign their names to the oath and read it in the presence of the King. The ministers shall sign their names to the oath and read it in the presence of the King. The nobles and representatives of the people shall sign their names to the oath and read it in the presence of the Legislative Assembly.


95. Oath of Judge.

The Chief Justice and any other judge shall take the following oath: "I swear in the presence of God that I will be loyal to His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV the lawful King of Tonga and that I will perform truly and with impartiality my duties as a judge in accordance with the Constitution and the Laws of Kingdom: The judge shall read and sign this oath in the presence of the Cabinet:
Provided that a Chief Justice or any other judge, who is not a Tongan subject shall take the following oath in lieu of the foregoing oath: "I swear in the presence of God that I will perform truly and with impartiality my duties as a judge in accordance with the Constitution and the Laws of Kingdom".


108. Church lands not to be sub-let without permission.

No leases of any town site shall in future be granted to any religious body for any purpose unless there are thirty adults, male and female, of such church in that town, and it shall not be lawful for any religious body to use such leased lands for other than religious purposes or to sub-let to any person without the prior consent of Cabinet, and upon satisfactory proof before a Court that any such land has been sub-let without consent, such land shall revert to the person from whom the land was leased, or to his successor in title as the case may be.


Royal Proclamation

TAUFA'AHAU TUPOU VI. By the Grace of God, King of the Kingdom of Tonga, to all to whom these presents shall come, Greetings:

Sources

1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at arda@pop.psu.edu if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.