Yet in remains in pockets among the Wakunai peoples and some isolated villages we visited inland from the west coast. He said that the people have spoken through the votes and the outcome will not be different. Bougainville News Alert : President Toroama reports on 100-days progress : Bougainville News : Reflections of memory and reality , there is rhyme, reason and ritual to hunting, gathering and fishing. Despite these challenges, it was perceived that referendum awareness had been thorough. Dr Temu said that PNG will continue to work with Australia and New Zealand to complete the Bougainville Peace Agreement with the conduct of the referendum in October and also manage the transitional period after the vote is taken. Flip The Script: Nora Vagi Brash, Which Way Big Man? Bougainville House of Representatives, Congratulations to Simon Pentanu, who has been named on the 2019 Independence Day Anniversary Honours List. In total, 181,067 ballots were cast. This article focuses on one initiative, a telephone information hotline that operated for eight weeks just before polling. He also thanked the Donor partners, International organizations that observed the polling and the count the UN team, High Commissioners of Britain, Australia, New Zealand and many who were part of the peace process on Bougainville. Bougainville Referendum Results : ‘We are reborn’: Bougainville votes 97.7 % for independence from Papua New Guinea [9], “It is time to purify and heal Bougainville” – Francis Ora, “It is time to not let the bird of paradise die in vain” – Airlie Ingram, Sorong Samarai. “During polling we’ve witnessed a festive and joyous mood,” he said. Papua New Guinea, which fought a decade-long civil war with Bougainville rebels ending in the late 90s, is trying to convince. Gordon PeakeGordon Peake is a 2020-2021 Visitor with the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University. Simon Pentanu MHR GCL Along with Japan, New Zealand and the U.S., Australia has committed to a 10-year $1.7 billion electrification project in Papua New Guinea. At least two other groups are vying to operate Panguna. I want to assure the people of Bougainville and all Papua New Guineans that the Government has heard your voice”, the Prime Minister said. The 2019 Bougainville referendum offered valuable lessons for future elections, Kerryn Baker and Thiago Oppermann write. All Right Reserved. Bougainvilleans have long been the target of violence – they have endured decades of exploitation and abuse from Germany and Britain in their colonization pursuits. Prime Minister, JAMES MARAPE and ABG President, DR. JOHN MOMIS signed the joint resolution in the afternoon at the Presidential villa in front of journalists and the Ministers and members from both the ABG and the National Government. The country is rich in natural resources – especially copper, which has been extracted on a large scale since the 1960s under Australian administration. And there must be one national moderator and one external moderator. Still, as is well known, the vote is not binding. Likewise, its population would be one of the world’s smallest – slightly smaller than Pacific neighbour Vanuatu, and slightly bigger than Barbados. It is becoming a generic, wilted plant in a thriving forest. The vote, which is scheduled to start on 12 October, has already been moved once from 15 June. To me, the term Melanesia invokes the idea of an alien tree within Oceania that has not yet produced its own fruit. [online] RNZ. Sir Puka said these events will include commitments to dispose of weapons. But according to research by Australia’s Lowy Institute, Bougainville self-reliance would at best be years away. In replying to Kerr on 28 August 1975, Charteris compared Bougainville to Scotland and the way oil resources drove hope for Scottish independence. Let us avoid the pitfalls of bad governance by making a conscious and conscientious choice for good governance without making compromises, taking short cuts or looking for quick fixes at the leadership level. Copyright 2020 - www.emtv.com.pg. But the mine, operated by BCL, a subsidiary of Conzinc Riotinto Australia (now Rio Tinto Ltd.), became a focal point for conflict over pollution, migrant workers, resource ownership and revenue sharing, and has been dormant since 1989. We prayed to God and he gave us strength. There is a widespread expectation that Bougainvilleans will vote in favour of independence in a result that would then have to be ratified by the PNG parliament, where it could face opposition from MPs who fear other provinces could follow. The service was promoted through traditional media channels, but principally through an introductory, automated ‘robocall’ from the President of Bougainville. Eight group interviews were conducted with local community leaders, women and youths in a mix of rural and urban settings across Bougainville. Tensions over the mine would spark a bloody civil war that killed an estimated 20,000 people between 1988 and 1997. The BRC had sought for additional time for the referendum roll to be updated so that the outcome is credible and has integrity. The hotline was a national first in the application of a mobile telephone-based platform to deliver public information en masse. Bougainville was once one of the wealthiest regions in Papua New Guinea, with the Panguna mine still holding an estimated $58 billion in untapped mineral resources. Hon. We cannot forget that the leaders of the Bougainvillean Revolutionary Army (BRA) believed that they were waging a war against what they believed to be between purity and corruption. In 2019 he was seconded to the Bougainville Referendum Commission to lead the media and voter communications campaign. PNG govt urged not to derail Bougainville referendum mandate. Without regard for good governance the writing is on the wall. ” The use of mobile technologies in the 2019 Bougainville referendum presents both opportunities and challenges for the future of democracy in the Pacific, Amanda H A Watson, Jeremy Miller and Adriana Schmidt write. A two-part question commonly asked of those of us closely following the Bougainville referendum is whether the PNG government is likely to obstruct the result, and if so, will there be a return to violence? [5] ROKA, L.F. (2014). Recognizing these challenges, the Catholic Bishop Conference (CBC) of PNG and Solomon Islands General Secretary, Fr. Most participants felt they and their fellow community members had sufficient knowledge about the referendum and were ready to vote. The MSG founding fathers such as PNG former prime minister Paias Wingti, Solomon Islands former prime minister Ezekiel Alebua, and Vanuatu’s first prime minister Walter Lini had visions backed by strong political desire to strive for the entire decolonization and freedom of the Melanesian people and territories under the colonial rule in the South Pacific. The legacy of Damien Dameng, the father of Meekamui. [5] The referendum was delayed again to 23 November at the request of the Bougainville Referendum Commission to ensure the credibility of the referendum roll so more people can vote, most of the promised funding not having been sent by the national government. All across the Pacific region of Bougainville, people have voted in a historic referendum to decide if they want to become the world’s newest nation by gaining independence from Papua New Guinea. Kerr also lamented Australian aid cuts to PNG at the same time, saying they were “most unfortunate … on the very eve of independence”. The research found no striking differences in the awareness or use of the service by age or gender. Earlier this month, the Bougainville island region of Papua New Guinea (PNG), announced that almost 98% of Bougainvilleans voting in the recent independence referendum had voted in favour of leaving PNG. ” The Australian governor general John Kerr warned the Queen that a plan for Bougainville independence was not lawful, was opposed by Australia and Rio Tinto copper interests, and would increase regional instability and force Australia to hand more financial support to Papua New Guinea. However, the design of future mobile telephone-led interventions may benefit from being realistic about the effective reach of current mobile telephone service and infrastructure. The slaughtering of Papuans every day by Indonesians on the other side of this imaginary colonial border (PNG and West Papua) is being undertaken in the name of “national unity and integrity.” There is no unity or integrity in killing your fellow beings. The results were announced in the town of Buka by former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, the chairman of the Bougainville Referendum Commission. If there are to be future iterations of a telephone hotline in Bougainville or elsewhere, it must be but one tool in an multi-channel effort. In the pre-referendum period, there was a strong focus on informing voters about the two referendum options (independence or greater autonomy) to enhance the credibility and legitimacy of the result and help maintain peace in a post-conflict setting. As Hogeveen argues, there is a trend in the Pacific region towards ‘digital aid’ in which international donors utilise information and communication technologies. He said he came back from a visit to Bougainville two weeks ago with an “enormous level of comfort” that the former militant groups had given their commitment to the peace process. The documents released by Australia’s national archives shed new light on the royal attitude to the secessionist movement in Bougainville. People were chanting and danced in circles beneath a Bougainville flag nearby to welcome the handful of election monitors, and Upe initiates, as the village prepared to vote. We can choose, if we will” The Melanesian Way (Bernard Narakobi). Pajomile Minaka, from Bougainville’s southern region the 36-year old, who was a child during the conflict , told Reuters he was taking a law course to equip himself to help rebuild his homeland. During this time, they wear the tall, woven Upe hats that hide their hair and are forbidden to be seen by women. The violence in Bougainville began in the late 1980s, triggered by conflict over an enormous opencast copper mine at Panguna. If there are broader lessons to be learnt, it is that an engaged and informed population, reached through a range of mediums, can make a positive contribution to the process. This article is based upon a paper published by the ANU Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA) as part of its ‘Discussion paper’ series. This bigger issue of large information ‘blackspots’ in Bougainville, due to poor access to mobile telephony, radio or other information channels, will continue to challenge government and development communicators alike. Simon Pentanu. 5 : THE Pacific island of Bougainville is moving a step closer to potential independence from Papua New Guinea as preparations begin for a long-promised referendum later this year. That JSB meeting is set to be held in south Bougainville, in Buin. Jeremy MillerJeremy Miller is a strategic media and communications adviser with over 15 years of experience in Melanesia. This Sunday, a special #60Mins investigation revealing the communist superpower’s soft invasion of Australia’s island neighbours. Invisible capitalists, whose whole philosophy is based on Scottish Capitalist Adam Smith’s book “The Wealth of Nations”, are cashing their cheques amidst the slaughter of innocent Melanesian, Polynesian, Micronesian, Indigenous Australian and other ancient people across the world. Available at: https://thatssojacob.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/flip-the-script-nora-vagi-brash-which-way-big- man/ [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020]. Boys as young as 10 and young men of voting age, all wearing the woven Upe hats of initiation that adorn the centre of Bougainville’s flag, made a fleeting appearance to cast their ballot. This indicated that the strategy fell short of its promise, which reduced uptake of the service. The gender of the voter could not be determined, Outside the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, in PNG provinces, and Solomon Islands and Australia. There was much discussion about the need to improve mobile network coverage, which participants said was weak and inconsistent, with no coverage in some villages. Bougainville Referendum Commission Website. Prime Minister Marape will travel to Bougainville this Friday, where he will speak in Arawa and sign a joint statement with President Momis. Pacific island of Bougainville is moving a step closer to potential independence from Papua New Guinea as preparations begin for a long-promised referendum later this year. The myth of national unity serves only the interests of elites in Port Moresby parliament house and Canberra – those who could not care less about the Melanesian communities whose lives, language, cultures and land have been under severe attack by the project of modernity. A number of initiatives were undertaken by the Bougainville government and other partners to overcome people’s lack of access to traditional mass media (radio, television and newspapers).”. Of those: 176,928 voted for independence From a strategic perspective, Jennings says it would be best if Melanesia looked to Australia as its main partner on matters of security. equest by the BRC to extend the Referendum date by six weeks from October 12th Polling to November 23rd Polling. We were fighting for our rights, to get rid of all these bad companies and their effects. The roots of the referendum stem from a bitter inter-clan and separatist conflict that ran from 1988 to 1997, fighting that claimed between 10,000 and 20,000 lives through a combination of violence, disease, poverty and dislocation. [online] That’s So Jacob. The Bougainville Peace Agreement does not provide a solution for all the issues related to the post … He says the challenge for any mine operator would be developing a project that is environmentally safe, yet still deliver an acceptable return to shareholders and to the government. Regular polling finished yesterday (Tuesday) at 6pm, with only the submission of postal votes to continue to Saturday 7 December, 6 pm. The mining investors are untouched by the generational pain that mining and civil war have caused in Bougainville. The genocide next door – West Papuan band spreading message of freedom | Asia Pacific Report. Coventry University’s Matt Qvortrup was in Port Moresby to speak to lawmakers about possible scenarios after the referendum. The woman who made several comments is the former ABG member representing the women of South Bougainville, Rose Pihei who stressed the need to address traumatized people and also address mental health issues in our communities. 5 major news alerts this week ( July 1- 7) on the Bougainville Referendum, 1 : Ahern urges focus on post-referendum peace in Bougainville ( From Irish Times ), 2. ( See full story Part 2 ). “I want to first acknowledge the result. Of the 181,000 ballots, almost 98% were in favour of independence. [online] Asiapacificreport.nz. We know this from the countless examples of developing countries that have been turned into pariah states by their own Leaders in power. The visit was the first by an Australian minister since a bungled 2015 attempt to open an Australian consulate led the PNG government to slap a ban on Australian officials travelling to the autonomous region. For example, as part of their emergency response to COVID-19, both the PNG and Bougainville governments are operating free-call telephone information hotlines for their citizens. It is hosted by the National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea as a record of an historic national event. But the newly appointed PNG Minister of Bougainville Affairs, Sir Puka Temu, said the BRC needed to make a formal request if it wanted to delay the referendum. Agenda two was on weapons disposal, after the joint Weapons disposal secretariat briefed the JSB on the progress of the Me’ekamui Weapons disposal program, the JSB resolved and noted that the weapons disposal work must continue, and also touched on the National Reconciliation ceremony that must be held between the National Government and the ABG and also between the veterans. Watson is a Research Fellow with the Department of Pacific Affairs at Australian National University. While 79,285 calls were made to the hotline over the eight-week pilot, overall, the knowledge of the telephone hotline amongst research participants was generally low. But I'm confident that what I have witnessed and learnt is a resilience and an unwavering commitment to peace by peaceful means". “They will need, according to international studies, at least 900 million kina ($390m) a year to rebuild Bougainville as an independent state.” He said independence would also mean “Papua New Guinea will not be able to be politically responsible for an independent Bougainville state”. A truce brokered and maintained by regional neighbors that included Australia, New Zealand and Fiji helped restore order, and a comprehensive peace agreement was signed between Papua New Guinea and Bougainville in 2001. The people of Bougainville, an island group in Papua New Guinea, have voted overwhelmingly for independence. She said that the work Sr Loraine  is doing must be supported by donor partners. ULMWP Statement on the Republic of Vanuatu’s Independence Day – United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). ”  Experts believe people the 250,000 to 300,000 people of Bougainville will vote overwhelming in favor of independence ahead of the other option, which is greater autonomy. Having observed those preliminary conditions, Bougainville duly conducted the referendum on independence. The young Upe men can remain isolated from their communities for several years as they learn about culture, medicine, hunting and other skills. “It gives them at least the belief that they could stand on their own two feet and the wish to do so, so that they can keep the wealth of their territory to themselves.”. Presenters assisted Sister Loraine in presenting what the women peace builders have been doing silently to make the place free from violence and human right abuses in the communities. The Bougainville conflict, in which rival clans on the island fought among themselves and with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, evolved from multiple issues, including land rights, customary ownership, “outsider” interference and migration, mineral resource exploitation, and perceived inequities and environmental damage associated with the rich Panguna copper mine. Blown conch shells and bamboo wind pipes reverberated in the air. And Bougainville Referendum Commission chairman Bertie Ahern urged all sides to recognise the result and said the vote was about “your peace, your history, and your future” and reflected “the power of the pen over weapons”. He also thanked the Donor partners, International organizations that observed the polling and the count the UN team, High Commissioners of Britain, Australia, New Zealand and many who were part of the peace process on Bougainville. The BRC announced the result on 11 December, and returned the referendum writ to the Governor-General of Papua New Guinea on 13 December 2019. With doubts persisting about Bougainville’s economic viability if it cuts ties with the central government, the referendum outcome will be closely watched by other PNG provinces pushing for greater autonomy, such as East New Britain, New Ireland and Enga. He said that this significant relationship between our three countries have grown over the years and continue strengthen our friendship. Both governments will agree upon the official date of the referendum. The visiting Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne this week met with the Bougainville women Peace builders at the Nazareth Rehabilitation centre, Chabai on the northern tip of mainland Bougainville. “The revenue for Bougainville is only 20 million kina ($8.6m) per year,” Sir Puka said. James Marape, who took over as Papua New Guinea’s prime minister in late May, said on June 14 he would prefer Bougainville to remain part of a unified nation, but would listen to the people’s voice and then consult over future options. I want to assure the people of Bougainville and all Papua New Guineans that the Government has heard your voice”, the Prime Minister said. Its destructive connections co-opt leaderships in a way that doesn’t work out well for people.”. Voters had two options - more autonomy, or full independence. The cocoa and copra industries ravaged by the war have been re-established, there is small-scale gold mining, and potential for hydroelectric power and a revived forestry industry. National unity for who? “If Bougainville successfully secedes, Papua New Guinea would be weaker economically, and hence likely to be more pressing, so far as Australia is concerned, for economic support.”, “Bougainville secession would also increase the possibility of instability in Papua New Guinea in other areas.”. “This land must become holy again, Me’ekamui. “So as part of that is to guarantee the security of the process and also reconcile and rebuild the relationship amongst all of us – our soldiers on this side and ex-combatants on the other side because that will then remove this cloud of suspicion.”. In an attempt to control protesting against the mine operations, the PNG government used foreign-supplied mercenaries to massacre thousands of Bougainvilleans, with the support of the Australian government. Panguna copper mine, now closed, serves not only as a stark reminder of war, but the breakdown of social structure, cultural values, and the destruction of Bougainville’s ecosystem. Australia and the U.S. have agreed to help Papua New Guinea redevelop its Manus Island naval base, which sits 350 kilometers north of the mainland and commands key trade routes into the Pacific. “China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and respects the independent choices of people in all countries,” it said in a statement. The island has had its own autonomous government since 2005. Some asked if the audio files could be made available through other means, such as flash drives. Two upcoming reconciliations are to be held on Bougainville at the same time before the referendum. Bougainville News 2020 : The Bougainville referendum and the fate of Melanesia: Which Way, Big Man? Of those: [3] PMC Editor (2016). The region is home to the vast Panguna mine, then the world’s biggest open-cut copper mine, owned by Bougainville Copper Limited, which then had Conzinc Rio Tinto as major shareholder. Of the 181,000 ballots, almost 98% were in favour of independence. The referendum is a key element of the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA), which, following a ten-year armed conflict, provided for special autonomy and a vote on independence to be … At the international level, Australia will be keen to ensure that whatever the outcome of the Bougainville referendum, stability is maintained in Papua New Guinea, if only to counter China’s growing interest in offering aid and economic benefits as it builds a Pacific presence. [online] Asiapacificreport.nz. He said nearly 98 percent for Independence is a huge testimony of what the people of Bougainville want for their future. Independent shareholders own the remaining 27.2%. 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