4.With a projected vote on independence from Papua New Guinea just three months away, suddenly Bougainville is the centre of a lot of activity. The smooth conduct of the referendum was a result of the high community engagement, locally led … PNG Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Sir Puka Temu, said Bougainville’s people needed to understand what “cutting the umbilical cord from Papua New Guinea” would mean. Copyright 2020 - www.emtv.com.pg. Deep scars remain from the conflict, both physical and emotional. The JSB also resolved to approve a new arrangement for the National Government to provide 100 Million annually to the ABG for the next ten years starting next year. This directed us to engage in clean battle. 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. The Pacific Region is fast becoming important for competing superpowers for geopolitical and economic strategy. The funding shortfall emerged early this year amid preparations, overseen by former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, to register the votes of 300,000 people, most of them spread over the main island of Bougainville, nearby Buka and other outlying islands. The people of Bougainville, an island group in Papua New Guinea, have voted overwhelmingly for independence. Hon. 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. The referendum is part of a peace agreement that has been under way for some time. The gender of the voter could not be determined, Outside the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, in PNG provinces, and Solomon Islands and Australia. “This cannot be done legally,” Kerr wrote. The President Momis mentioned the people of Bougainville that despite so many problems they have faced in the past kept their faith for the future of Bougainville as clearly demonstrated by their vote. The regional body such as the MSG and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) could be very powerful institutions that allow the leaders of the Pacific nations to unite and say NO to cheque book diplomacy coming from large foreign powers. This was conducted by the BRC, the independent agency established by the two governments of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville to conduct the referendum, between 23 November and 7 December 2019. It was implemented by the Autonomous Bougainville Government with the support of the PNG, Australian and New Zealand governments, and operated by Digicel. Those with their hands in the Panguna mine pocket are eagerly awaiting the future of mining on the Pacific Islands. 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. In November the BRC completed the official ‘certified voter list’ to be used in polling for the Bougainville Referendum. Nevertheless, the landslide victory will put pressure on PNG to grant Bougainville independence. The referendum is nonbinding, and a vote for independence would then need to be negotiated by leaders from both Bougainville and Papua New Guinea. This article is based upon a paper published by the ANU Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA) as part of its ‘Discussion paper’ series. (USA NEWS ). Available at: https://thediplomat.com/2019/12/australia-china-and-bougainvilles-choices/ [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020]. 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. The JSB noted the progress made so far and resolved for the establishment of a Joint Ministerial Task Force on Post Referendum. I give full credit to the work of the Bougainville Referendum Commission, the Autonomous Bougainville Government under the leadership of President Momis and the people of Bougainville who ensured that the referendum period was safe and that all Bougainvilleans could cast their vote”, Prime Minister Marape said. Available at: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/bougainville-president-fails-victims-brutal-resource- conflict [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020]. I look forward to talking more about my vision for this process when I travel to Bougainville later this week”, the Prime Minister said. 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://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/03/06/bougainville-faces-mental-health-issues-legacy-from-the-civil-war/ [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020]. The legacy of Damien Dameng, the father of Meekamui. Clan rivalry and suspicion persists, particularly in regard to land rights and resource development. But according to research by Australia’s Lowy Institute, Bougainville self-reliance would at best be years away. That JSB meeting is set to be held in south Bougainville, in Buin. Even so, some research participants did not understand how to select the four options or that the messages changed each week. Of the 181,000 ballots, almost 98% were in favour of independence. The 2002 amendments provided for the establishment of the Autonomous Government of Bougainville (AGB), and authorised the AGB to establish its own constitution that can be enforced as the supreme law in Bougainville by the PNG Supreme Court and provided for a referendum on independence to be held within 10 to 15 years of the formation of the AGB, i.e. So, what are the implications for the delivery of public information in Bougainville and elsewhere in the Pacific? Mr Ahern also said "the referendum result will bring more hard work. ... yesterday formally announced the … The 1975 momentum for secession was dealt with by granting the region more autonomy. Some asked if the audio files could be made available through other means, such as flash drives. One Bougainvillian, nursing graduate Alexia Baria, told news agency AFP that “happiness was an understatement”. Sir Puka said there are now teams on the ground preparing for the events at a date that is yet to be announced but expected to be the end of the month. Bougainville had a nine-year separatist war that began in 1988, fuelled by economic grievance. Simon Pentanu MHR GCL The Queen read Kerr’s advice, the letters show. Do you agree for Bougainville to have: (1) Greater Autonomy (2) Independence? 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. 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? The ABG’s communications director, Adriana Schmidt, said the report provided a clear picture of the information needs of Bougainvilleans going into the vote. Recognizing these challenges, the Catholic Bishop Conference (CBC) of PNG and Solomon Islands General Secretary, Fr. Lack of mobile telephone credit is a huge barrier for people throughout PNG, due to both affordability and logistical challenges of locating a place or method to buy credit. The research found no striking differences in the awareness or use of the service by age or gender. Bougainville’s people will vote on October 17 to either become an independent state or to have greater autonomy within PNG. The documents released by Australia’s national archives shed new light on the royal attitude to the secessionist movement in Bougainville. But more than 40 U.N. staffers and over 100 international observers helped oversee a process that Claudio said had gone remarkably well. It is becoming a generic, wilted plant in a thriving forest. The Bougainville and Melanesian are at a crossroads now, Prime Minister James Marape and your government in Moresby… Which Way, Big Man? Jeremy MillerJeremy Miller is a strategic media and communications adviser with over 15 years of experience in Melanesia. Dates for this weeks BRC Bougainville Roadshow announced: Information and progress updates from the Chair Hon Bertie Ahern and Commissioners. Despite these challenges, it was perceived that referendum awareness had been thorough. During this time, they wear the tall, woven Upe hats that hide their hair and are forbidden to be seen by women. Mrs Pihie said that if these post conflict problems are not addressed Bougainville will be facing a big problem with these people in the future. This worldview has destroyed millions of lives on this planet. Are the current Melanesian leaders still holding onto this important vision? Voters had two options – more autonomy, or full independence. He said as the Minister for Bougainville Affairs Minister it was only proper to thank these countries for their continued support especially assisting PNG on the Bougainville issue. The research will also be presented in a webinar on 27 October 2020. Last week the election results in Papua New Guinea’s autonomous region of Bougainville were announced. It seems that any significant decision about the fate of a single nation is no longer sustainable in the long run. Under the terms of the 2001 peace agreement, a vote on independence within 20 years was promised. “I don’t think the exercise of a democratic process in one of our nearest neighbours would be described as a huge problem for Australia. Approved for the Post Referendum Task Force to identify facilitators/moderators to assist in the Post referendum negotiation period. He said election officers hiked for two hours into the jungle to collect the votes. He said nearly 98 percent for Independence is a huge testimony of what the people of Bougainville want for their future. 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. [4] Mcdonald, J. If they agree then we will inform our people and the basis will be the credibility of the common roll,” he said. We can grab and take the opportunities to heart or we can squat and squander them. ” The United States and its Pacific allies have plugged a funding gap that endangered next month’s independence referendum in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) region of Bougainville, a strategic move that also sidelined China, two sources told Reuters. In his address to the people who were present at the Hutjena Counting Centre, President Momis thanked the people for giving his ABG the clear mandate to consult with the National Government on the wishes of the people. Since Panguna closed in May 1989, Bougainville’s people have led a life built around agriculture and fishing. 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. Photo: Autonomous Bougainville Government. It is expected to be overwhelmingly in favour of independence, with some observers anticipating a “yes” vote of more than 90%. Australia will work to ensure the integrity of the Bougainville referendum later this year, and won’t cast judgment on the result, Foreign Minister Marise Payne says. It is time to listen to the words of many great people who want to see these island nations thrive under autonomy and renewed freedom. She said people want to know more about what the two options – greater autonomy and independence – mean in practical terms, and to understand what happens after the vote. Agenda three was on the Post Referendum Transition of which many discussions have been made and also looking at the legal issues going forward. John Momis, a prominent Bougainvillean statesman, referred to the Panguna mine as a “cancer cell” in his letter to the company’s managing director. According to the official results from the referendum, almost 98 percent of the 181,067 votes cast backed independence in the non-binding poll. The important things that Australia is focused on is not forming a view one way or the other on the outcome of a referendum in another country, but importantly supporting that wherever we can to ensure a credible, and a peaceful and an inclusive process.”. Eight group interviews were conducted with local community leaders, women and youths in a mix of rural and urban settings across Bougainville. For now, a lack of accommodation inhibits tourism. In total, 181,067 ballots were cast. 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. In replying to Kerr on 28 August 1975, Charteris compared Bougainville to Scotland and the way oil resources drove hope for Scottish independence. (USA NEWS ), 1  : Ahern urges focus on post-referendum peace in Bougainville. PNG Prime Minister James Marape has said PNG was “stronger with Bougainville than without” but it would listen to the people of Bougainville “and then consult on options for the future”. It is a period when serious negotiations and consultations between the government of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville will begin, based on the result of the Bougainville Referendum. 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. Interviewed by Anna-Karina Hermken, Author of “Marian Movements and Secessionist      Warfare in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea” (November 22nd, 2005). 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. An independence referendum will be held in Bougainville between 23 November and 7 December 2019, with results declared around 20 December. [i]   Hermkens, A.-K. (2015). The future course of the island could ripple across the region, as the question of Bougainville’s independence will touch on a complicated mixture of business concerns, environmental worries and geopolitical interests stretching from Australia and New Zealand to China, Japan and the United States. Their claims of developing the Pacific Islands are a mere smokescreen for their true ambitions of a regional and global hegemony, as they strategies how to carve up the Pacific region pie. 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. [online] That’s So Jacob. Although the PNG government was against independence, and does not have to accept the result, the huge mandate will make it hard to ignore. 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. The Directorate is under the Department of President and the Bougainville Executive Council. The hotline was one element of a multi-media package of government information initiatives supported by Australia and New Zealand. Though the independence option was expected … The simple fact is that two options are already guaranteed, and it is now for the people to make their choice. Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Puka Temu has told Bougainvilleans that the result of the referendum vote will not be presented raw to the floor of Parliament for ratification because it is a non-binding referendum. 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. Sir Puka said these events will include commitments to dispose of weapons. The referendum was non-binding – meaning independence won’t happen automatically. I want to assure the people of Bougainville and all Papua New Guineans that the Government has heard your voice”, the Prime Minister said. “We will need to work cooperatively with all stakeholders to achieve our objective of bringing the Panguna mine back into production,” he said. The people of Bougainville have chosen overwhelmingly to become the world's newest nation in a historic referendum to break away from Papua New Guinea. Under the terms of the agreement, the referendum is nonbinding and will be subject to consultation after the vote has taken place. On 19 August 1975, Kerr briefed Charteris on his “thinking” on the growing secessionist movement in Bougainville and a plan to secede unilaterally from PNG in September, the same month PNG secured its independence from Australia. Bougainville is a 21st century tragedy with the potential to be extinguished under the Western capitalist system or live as a spiritual-based, nature centric civilization. [5] ROKA, L.F. (2014). 1,096 were classed as informal, or void. Added to that, the Bougainville Referendum Commission only secured its funding in March. Referendum is one of the pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA). Prime Minister Marape will travel to Bougainville this Friday, where he will speak in Arawa and sign a joint statement with President Momis. While China gives most of its aid to PNG and Fiji, the region’s two biggest economies, Jubilee’s Fletcher says China giving aid to an independent Bougainville was “feasible.”, Geoff Hiscock is a Sydney-based journalist with a focus on international business. “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.”. Speaker This article focuses on one initiative, a telephone information hotline that operated for eight weeks just before polling. He said that the people have spoken through the votes and the outcome will not be different. Each message was less than two minutes and recordings were updated weekly. Coventry University’s Matt Qvortrup was in Port Moresby to speak to lawmakers about possible scenarios after the referendum. Both governments will agree upon the official date of the referendum. The conflicts in Melanesian mining villages are far more complex: these are wars against industrial machines that uproot cultures and tear apart ecosystems; fighting for the survival of languages, values and land as the threat of extinction rears its head. The Minister for Bougainville Affairs, SIR PUKA TEMU has told the visiting Australian and New Zealand delegation that since the change of the government two weeks ago, Prime Minister, JAMES MARAPE has announced that the PNG Government is 100 percent behind the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement. For example, in South Bougainville, participants reported substantial challenges with the quality and reach of mobile network signals and said that they had almost no access to radio stations, newspapers or television. He said he embraced the reconciliations because of their importance to Melanesian culture and the commitment that the final outcome will be jointly negotiated. The period after the referendum vote is often referred to as the Post-Referendum Transition. The BRC had sought for additional time for the referendum roll to be updated so that the outcome is credible and has integrity. Our fragmented worldview has created a separation theology and our separated theology has divided our sociology. Part 2 Report and pictures from Ben Bohane. Likewise, Luke Fletcher, executive director of the Sydney-based Jubilee Australia Research Centre, which studies the social and environmental impacts of resources projects on Pacific communities, says reopening Panguna would be a long, expensive and difficult proposition. Flip The Script: Nora Vagi Brash, Which Way Big Man? The civil war may be long buried by the media, but political leaders in Port Moresby, Canberra, Beijing and Washington are keeping a keen eye on Bougainville as they plan their next moves. After two weeks of voting, the results are finally in: More than 98% of Bougainvilleans have voted in favor of independence. The country is rich in natural resources – especially copper, which has been extracted on a large scale since the 1960s under Australian administration. The vote is not binding and the Government of Papua New Guinea has the final say on what becomes of Bougainville in the event of voters choosing independence. She said that the work Sr Loraine  is doing must be supported by donor partners. Sources with direct knowledge of the arrangements in Bougainville told Reuters that China was not blocked from helping fund the referendum, but neither was it invited to contribute when the shortfall emerged. The PNG government must decide if it will continue to stand with the global capitalists or with the Bougainvilleans, West Papuans and many other resilient, grassroot communities across Oceania that say NO to colonialism, nuclear testing, climate change, corruptions that lead to mismanagement, and the gambling of their resources, history and future. There will also be a presentation by the audience researcher who analysed the impact of the service. Nevertheless, the tree is large and full of potential, and outside visitors are intrigued by its uniqueness. 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. Without regard for good governance the writing is on the wall. Claudio said that giving Upes a chance to vote at male-only polling stations was one of many referendum firsts. The mining investors are untouched by the generational pain that mining and civil war have caused in Bougainville. He said the possibility of trouble was “disturbing” and that “we must hope that matters can at least be satisfactorily contained”. The original paper can be found here. All BRA and all Bougainvilleans practiced this holiness… Our spirits had to be holy, so God would get rid of Satan [the mining companies} …And God helped us…”. Nevertheless, the landslide victory will put pressure on PNG to grant Bougainville independence. Raymond Masono upon casting his vote during the polling at Bel Isi Park in Buka. The original paper can be found here. Claudio said there was only one disruption, in the Konnou area, where a long-simmering dispute led police to advise referendum officers to close one polling station. 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 ABG President, Chief DR JOHN MOMIS was lost for words after the results were declared by the Chair of the Bougainville Referendum Commission this afternoon. We are reborn.”. If Papua New Guinea honors the referendum result and grants Bougainville independence, one of the region's greatest challenges will be establishing its economy. Australia also had good reasons for opposing the secession, he said. But mining has been crippled by the war – and the distribution of revenue was one of the factors behind the conflict. Available at: https://asiapacificreport.nz/2019/11/08/the-genocide-next-door-papuan-band-spreading-message-of-freedom/ [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020], ” That’s my dream, to go and rebuild, We need the best policies, the best laws, to be the best country. They were proud to be continuing this tabu kastom that turns boys into men, and whose hats covering their uncut hair twisted in long dredlocks remains today the symbol of Bougainville. Bougainville Referendum Commission Website. Having observed those preliminary conditions, Bougainville duly conducted the referendum on independence. “It’s just that the invitation never arrived, or, rather, was never sent,” one source said. He said if there is a clear vote for independence it’s still important that there is what he calls a ‘a just and fair divorce settlement’ – not just one party walking away. This site remains as an archive of all BRC public information regarding the conduct of the Bougainville referendum. People voted overwhelmingly for independence (97.71 per cent) in what was widely regarded to be a successful process, with an informed and engaged citizenry. The President Momis mentioned the people of Bougainville that despite so many problems they have faced in the past kept their faith for the future of Bougainville as clearly demonstrated by their vote. @AdrianaAdri09 @ahawatson @GordonPeake @Jezzamiller, Bougainville History of Independence : Buckingham Palace letters: Queen’s secretary compared Bougainville’s bid for independence to Scotland. Professor Qvortrup said he’d seen other referenda results implemented in a matter of months, for instance in Czechoslovakia and Ukraine, which said were examples of countries that broke up quickly. 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 … The referendum was approved by the Papua New Guinea government, but the result is non-binding. Critics will claim that the war was about demands for the mining royalties, but it was in fact predominately about eliminating deadly poisons that resulted from mining on the islands. The women had representatives that came all the way from North,Central and South Bougainville for this meeting. But the process of becoming a separate nation could take years to achieve.”. [6] Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Karl Claxton said there is a wide expectation Bougainville will vote to become independent. 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).”. Apart from any foreign aid it may receive, Bougainville’s future prosperity may well depend on whether it can restart the mine, which contains copper and gold worth an estimated $50 billion. Adriana SchmidtAdriana Schmidt is the Director of the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Directorate of Media and Communication, the agency responsible for whole of government communications. The vote is not binding and any move toward independence will require agreement from the central government of Papua New Guinea, commonly referred to as PNG. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, who visited Bougainville on June 19 with PNG’s new minister for Bougainville Affairs, Sir Puka Temu, said Australia will work to ensure the integrity of the referendum and will not pass judgment on the result. The Upe tradition used to be common across northern and central Bougainville, as well as Buka, but missionary influence stopped much of it over the past 100 years. equest by the BRC to extend the Referendum date by six weeks from October 12th Polling to November 23rd Polling. Independence option wins in Bougainville referendum Three weeks ago we reported on Bougainville's independence referendum - a non-binding vote on whether to split from Papua New Guinea and become a separate country. Available at: https://www.pngattitude.com/2014/03/the-legacy-of-damien-dameng-the-father-of-meekamui.html [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020]. 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. [online] Asiapacificreport.nz. The team was fully informed on the work of these women peace builders at this meeting. Discussions will take place with the Papua New Guinea government to decide when – or if – the transition to full independence can begin. 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. Mr Ahern met UN secretary general António Guterres in New York to discuss the progress of the peace process in the autonomous region of Bougainville.”. He said Rio Tinto was in favour of a “united Papua New Guinea”, though he said that may change if it deemed its long-term interests lay elsewhere. Sir Mel Togolo, the BCL chairman, told the company’s annual general meeting on May 2 that continued uncertainty about Panguna’s tenure remains a big challenge. Govt urged not to derail Bougainville referendum mandate design of the agreed definitions for bougainville referendum result two questions for the use... 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