[Documents menu]Bougainville independence struggle
Message-ID: <35F593A2.41C6@tu-bs.de>
Date: Tue, 08 Sep 1998 22:30:02 +0200
From: Norbert BRAumann <N.BRAumann@tu-bs.de>
Organization: Technical University Braunschweig (Germany)
Subject: [BougI-xL Guardian] Bougainville Independence Day celebration

Bougainville Independence Day

From The Guardian, (Australia)
9 September 1998

On September 1, 1975, the people of Bougainville raised the flag and declared independence as the Republic of the North Solomons. Papua New Guinea gained its independence on September 16, but with Australia's assistance, refused to recognise Bougainville's independence. Twenty-three years later, after a long struggle, the people of Bougainville are in the midst of a peace process and preparing for self-determination.

"We have a peace process in place, peace monitors from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu. We also now have the UN on Bougainville. By the end of the year we will form a Reconciliation Government and from our point of view the Reconciliation Government will virtually be the mechanism by which our people will enter into a process of self-determination to independence", Moses Havini told an Independence Celebration in Sydney on September 1.

Around 70 people enjoyed a night of great music by indigenous and non- indigenous performers, good food, short speeches and a flag raising ceremony. The celebration was organised by the Bougainville Freedom Movement, and was compared by Vikki Johns.

Marilyn Havini explained the Upe and other unique symbols of Bougainville that have been incorporated in the design of the flag.

Mr Havini, the Bougainville Interim Government representative in Australia, had just returned from the Parallel NGO Forum in Micronesia and lobbying heads of governments at the South Pacific Forum.

He reported on the peace process on Bougainville and put it into the Pacific context of colonialist occupation. New Zealand and France still possess territories within the Pacific and Papua New Guinea clings to Bougainville.

"There is now a process of decolonisation. The UN has given the target that by the year 2000 the remaining territories under colonisation must be given their independence by the year 2000."

Colonialism is an outdated concept, it was outlawed by the United Nations after the Second World War, "and yet we have countries in the Pacific that still hang on to this old concept of still trying to have a people pinned under their sovereignty", said Mr Havini.

"Now the process on Bougainville, if it goes as planned, will set a process of self-determination within the Pacific.

"We are hoping that on Bougainville by the end of this year, next year, we will have actually short-circuited the process of self- determination and achieved a precedent by which decolonisation can be hastened in the Pacific.

"We are hoping that before the year 2000 that Bougainville will actually set a new political order within the present political structure, within the world today.

"We hope that in three years time we will be able to have something that we can tell the world: 'Look, we have done it. Follow us'".

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