Thursday, December 16, 2021

Kanaky New Caledonia vote to stay with France is a hollow victory - it will only rachet up tensions

"Keeping the peace" ... French police in Noumea for the third and final independence
referendum yesterday. IMAGE: Caledonia TV screenshot APR

“Loyalist” New Caledonians handed France the decisive victory in the third and final referendum on independence it wanted in Sunday’s vote.

But it was a hollow victory, with pro-independence Kanaks delivering Paris a massive rebuke for its three-decade decolonisation strategy.

The referendum is likely to be seen as a failure, a capture of the vote by settlers without the meaningful participation of the Indigenous Kanak people. Pacific nations are unlikely to accept this disenfranchising of Indigenous self-determination.

In the final results on Sunday night, 96.49 per cent said “non” to independence and just 3.51 per cent “oui”. This was a dramatic reversal of the narrow defeats in the two previous plebiscites in 2018 and 2020.

However, the negative vote in this final round was based on 43.9 per cent turnout, in contrast to record 80 per cent-plus turnouts in the two earlier votes. This casts the legitimacy of the vote in doubt, and is likely to inflame tensions.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Betrayal of Kanaky decolonisation by Paris risks return to dark days

Flashback to turmoil in the wake of the 2018 independence referendum in New Caledonia
... is France risking more violence? IMAGE: APR screenshot ABC


AFTER three decades of frustratingly slow progress but with a measure of quiet optimism over the decolonisation process unfolding under the Noumea Accord, Kanaky New Caledonia is again poised on the edge of a precipice.

Two out of three pledged referendums from 2018 produced higher than expected – and growing — votes for independence. But then the delta variant of the global covid-19 pandemic hit New Caledonia with a vengeance.

Like much of the rest of the Pacific, New Caledonia with a population of 270,000 was largely spared during the first wave of covid infections. However, in September a delta outbreak infected 12,343 people with 280 deaths – almost 70 percent of them indigenous Kanaks.

With the majority of the Kanak population in traditional mourning – declared for 12 months by the customary Senate, the pro-independence Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) and its allies pleaded for the referendum due this Sunday, December 12, to be deferred until next year after the French presidential elections.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Raising West Papua’s banned Morning Star flag – a global act of solidarity

Dr Emalani Case speaking at the December 1 West Papuan virtual flag raising in
Wellington, New Zealand. IMAGE: APR screenshot

Asia Pacific Report

FROM Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau in Aotearoa New Zealand to Paris, France, and from Wellington Te Whanganui-a-Tara to Jayapura and far beyond, thousands of people across the world today raised the Morning Star flag — banned by Indonesian authorities — in simple acts of defiance and solidarity with West Papuans.

They honoured the raising of the flag for the first time 60 years ago on 1 December 1961 as a powerful symbol of the long West Papua struggle for independence.

One of the first flag-raising events today was in Wellington where Peace Movement Aotearoa and Youngsolwara Pōneke launched a virtual ceremony online with most participants displaying the banned flag.

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