Photo: Ms Susana Faletau (front row, middle) with staff from the Ministry of Justice and RRRT
The Pacific Community (SPC) extends its deepest condolences to the family of Ms Susana Ma’ata Faletau, Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Justice in Tonga.
Under Ms Faletau’s leadership at the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry entered into a partnership with SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) to establish the first ever legal aid centre dedicated to helping survivors of domestic violence access legal protection in the Pacific. Her passion for the establishment of the centre, developed in consultation with wider government and civil society stakeholders, was driven by an abiding concern to see the elimination of domestic violence from Tongan family life.
A proponent of human rights for all persons, she had overseen inputs by her Ministry into the initial state report being developed on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the country and was part of the team representing the Government of Tonga during the recently concluded Universal Periodic Review process at the United Nations Human Rights Council. Ms Faletau had also been a supporter of a national human rights coordination committee within Government to work towards the ratification of other key human rights conventions consonant with Tongan law and society.
Ms Faletau’s contributions to Tonga have been extensive over her 20+ years in public service. A lawyer by training, she joined the public service in 1993 where she served in strategic positions initially in two key government ministries, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was while she was at the Prime Minister’s Office that she supported the development of the policy paper to support the ratification of a key international human rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In 2011, she then joined the Ministry of Justice as Deputy Secretary and was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in April 2012. In recognition of her competency and commitment, in 2016 she was again appointed the Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Justice.