Pacific Media Watch

5 October 2015

SOLOMON IS: PM urges France to comply with UN decolonisation process

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PM Sogavare addressing the UN General Assembly in New York. Image: Solomon Star

WELLINGTON (Radio New Zealand International/ Solomon Star/ Pacific Media Watch): The Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has called on France to implement the decolonisation process for French Polynesia approved by the United Nations two years ago.

In 2013, the General Assembly voted for a resolution sponsored by Solomon Islands to re-inscribe the territory on the UN Decolonisation List but Paris has all but ignored the decision.

France has said it would not buy into the UN decolonisation process and also ruled out holding an immediate independence referendum as requested by the Territorial Assembly.

Speaking at the UN in New York last week, Sogavare urged France to change.

"Solomon Islands calls on the administrating power to fully co-operate with the work of the special committee. We note that 30 years of nuclear testing by the administrating power caused widespread atomic radiation and has resulted in considerable health and environmental concern."

Hope for independence
Earlier this year a pro-independence politician in French Polynesia said the territory was poised for the moment France decides to join negotiations about self- determination.

It has been two years since the UN put French Polynesia back on the list of territories to be decolonised.

French Polynesian assembly member Richard Tuheiava said, before being put on the list, there was no hope for independence.

"There is no signal from the administering power that that they will come to a dialogue that was requested by the original resolution. We're not sure that this game is going to be very sustainable, but we're waiting for the moment that France will come back to the table."

West Papua
Sogavare also used his address to call on the UN to do more in investigating and monitoring allegations of human rights abuse and violations in the Papua and West Papua regions of Indonesia.

He said Solomon Islands, together with the Pacific Islands Forum, were seeking genuine dialogue and cooperation with Indonesia to resolve and dissolve the reported allegations of human rights violations.

"We appeal to the government of Indonesia to allow free and unrestricted access to this mission in the true spirit of regional cooperation. In the long term however, the United Nations cannot shy away from the root causes of these violations."

The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in their recent 'Leaders Summit' in Port Moresby asked the Forum Chair (currently Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O' Neill) to consult Indonesia on a fact finding mission to establish the alleged abuse of human rights there.

The summit resolved to appeal to the Indonesian government to allow free and unrestricted access to this mission "in the true spirit of regional cooperation".

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