Two upcoming reconciliations are to be held on Bougainville at the same time before the referendum. Photo: Autonomous Bougainville Government. [online] They appeared in a fringe of forest at the edge of Teuapaii village; hesitant, ghostly, looking awed and slightly bewildered at the scene in front of them after their years of seclusion in the bush. The 1975 momentum for secession was dealt with by granting the region more autonomy. Adherence to good governance must be the message delivered in unison by the people to their representatives in the House of Representatives and to Leaders in Government. However, the mine, which has laid in ruins since 1989, would take years … ... yesterday formally announced the … PNG playwright and poet, Nora Vagi Brash, in her five plays,  “Which Way, Big man?”, reflect  dramatic changes taking place in PNG and difficult decisions  that Papuans must make about their history, lives and future as they struggle to juggle between the two worlds – the world of their ancestors colonised and the new modern world of coloniser. The result of the referendum is not binding (even if the referendum result favours independence this does not mean Bougainville will immediately gain independence); If the two Governments agree, the referendum result will be tabled to the National Parliament (but the Parliament is not required by the BPA or PNG Constitution to make a decision on the result). The referendum was approved by the Papua New Guinea government, but the result is non-binding. The women had representatives that came all the way from North,Central and South Bougainville for this meeting. “There have been dancing troupes and whole communities getting together.”. Whether it can survive as a stand-alone nation is a key question for its 250,000 inhabitants, and for other separatist movements in the Pacific. Ecosystems are being depleted, cultures annihilated, and the money is going into the greedy hands of international pirates and global capitalists. The mining investors are untouched by the generational pain that mining and civil war have caused in Bougainville. With 87.4 percent* turnout, voting in the Bougainville referendum – conducted from November 23 through December 7 – concluded with the announcement of results on December 11. Research participants also suggested leveraging the hotline for use in community-based, face-to-face activities. [7] In October 2018, former Taoiseach of Ireland Bertie Ahern was appointed to chair the Bougainville Referendum Commission, which is responsible for preparing the referendum.[8]. Despite these challenges, it was perceived that referendum awareness had been thorough. “This cannot be done legally,” Kerr wrote. The country is rich in natural resources – especially copper, which has been extracted on a large scale since the 1960s under Australian administration. For, good governance is one of the major considerations that must be ticked off or crossed when it comes to ratification of the vote. 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. This is a war between industrial civilization versus the natural world. The results will be announced in mid-December. Australia financed and provided personnel and logistics for several major peacekeeping operations on Bougainville over the years, beginning with … The Impact of Mining and Politics in Bougainville. If they agree then we will inform our people and the basis will be the credibility of the common roll,” he said. In the many years I’ve covered Bougainville it was my first time to see them, and after those of age had voted they drifted silently back into the bush to complete their schooling in tribal law, medicine, building, fighting and love magic, amongst other life skills. Nothing is more certain than the dire consequences that befall a people whose leaders turn a blind eye, a deaf ear and who play mute to the evils of corruption. 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. The … 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. The smooth conduct of the referendum was a result of the high community engagement, locally led … It was implemented by the Autonomous Bougainville Government with the support of the PNG, Australian and New Zealand governments, and operated by Digicel. Raymond Masono upon casting his vote during the polling at Bel Isi Park in Buka. Effective government-to-people communications are vital for an informed and engaged citizenry and are essential for the effective operation of democracy. [online] That’s So Jacob. Australia also had good reasons for opposing the secession, he said. He said the possibility of trouble was “disturbing” and that “we must hope that matters can at least be satisfactorily contained”. Even so, some research participants did not understand how to select the four options or that the messages changed each week. One estimate cited by the Lowy Institute says Bougainville would only have 56% of the revenue needed to be self-reliant. EMTV is Papua New Guinea’s oldest and largest television station and has been the country’s window to the world for over three decades, EMTV offers a free-to-air, general entertainment television channel and provides one of the most respected and trusted sources of news and information in the country today. 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. This directed us to engage in clean battle. 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. The two governments must consult and we must develop a road map that leads to a lasting political settlement that the National Parliament can consider. Tensions over the mine would spark a bloody civil war that killed an estimated 20,000 people between 1988 and 1997. 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. The voter turnout was significant, with 87.6 percent of the population of eligible voters (a total of 206,731) making it to the polls. Copyright 2020 - WatsonAmanda H.A. Hon. The legacy of Damien Dameng, the father of Meekamui. Also, the hotline had been used in places where people had no access to radio and very limited access to other forms of media. “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.”. 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 JSB resolved to accept the calculations made by an independent expert engaged by the UNDP and that officers work on these calculations and settle those outstanding through the RDG and SIF programs. In total, 181,067 ballots were cast. 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. The results will be announced in December. 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”. Of those: The service was promoted through traditional media channels, but principally through an introductory, automated ‘robocall’ from the President of Bougainville. But according to research by Australia’s Lowy Institute, Bougainville self-reliance would at best be years away. The referendum is nonbinding, and a vote for independence would then need to be negotiated by leaders from both Bougainville and Papua New Guinea. 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. The research will also be presented in a webinar on 27 October 2020. Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Sydney, says the desire for independence in Bougainville remains strong, but from a regional perspective it will be best if the Bougainville people decided to stay in Papua New Guinea. Charteris made it plain that Kerr’s advice on Bougainville had reached the Queen. Minister Temu made these remarks during lunch at the Reasons Guest house in Buka town . “We will need to work cooperatively with all stakeholders to achieve our objective of bringing the Panguna mine back into production,” he said. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020]. The enemy of the people are the industrial nations with the support of local governments who don’t understand the complex networks of indigenous social structures, value systems and their deep connection to their ancestral land. 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. Under the terms of the agreement, the referendum is nonbinding and will be subject to consultation after the vote has taken place. Bougainvilleans are still traumatized from the civil war that erupted in the late 1980’s, which resulted in the closure of the giant, Australian-owned Panguna mine. NOTE: For our audience in Port Moresby and Bougainville, the event will be at 3PM and 4PM respectively (local times). Of those: 176,928 voted for independence But mining has been crippled by the war – and the distribution of revenue was one of the factors behind the conflict. [online] RNZ. Solutions to ensure as to whether Melanesia will survive or not require a collective effort. 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. Regular voting ended on Tuesday while any remaining postal votes will be accepted through Saturday. 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. Though the independence option was expected … Its destructive connections co-opt leaderships in a way that doesn’t work out well for people.”. The so-called palace letters, a trove of previously secret royal correspondence, shows the Queen’s private secretary Martin Charteris responded by comparing Bougainville to Scotland and its hopes that oil reserves could fund independence. 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).”. According to the official results from the referendum, almost 98 percent of the 181,067 votes cast backed independence in the non-binding poll. 2. Much of the island’s public infrastructure remains in poor shape, educational opportunities are limited, and corruption is pervasive. 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. 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. Australia is by far the biggest aid donor in the Pacific region, giving $6.5 billion between 2011 and 2017, according to research last year by the Lowy Institute. Photo: Autonomous Bougainville Government. Participants generally thought the hotline should be continued in the post-referendum period but suggested increasing awareness of the service itself. The JSB noted the progress made so far and resolved for the establishment of a Joint Ministerial Task Force on Post Referendum. Kerr also lamented Australian aid cuts to PNG at the same time, saying they were “most unfortunate … on the very eve of independence”. (2018). Also, this week a survey of more than 1,000 Bougainvilleans found people still need to know more about the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the referendum. This hotline was relatively simple to use, providing a free-call number, with four options of audio messages to listen to. There were also requests for improvements to other communication mediums, particularly radio broadcasting. 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. My real concern is more about our insouciance and disregard for good governance that we must sternly guard against, whatever the political outcome of referendum will be. 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 ABG’s communications director, Adriana Schmidt, said the report provided a clear picture of the information needs of Bougainvilleans going into the vote. When the overwhelming result for independence was handed down, people spontaneously started singing it again. Research participants commented that the free-call design was beneficial for them. [5] ROKA, L.F. (2014). equest by the BRC to extend the Referendum date by six weeks from October 12th Polling to November 23rd Polling. Both governments will agree upon the official date of the referendum. Simon Pentanu. 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 conduct of the vote was excellent. It is a matter of urgency for Bougainville and other Melanesian communities to ensure thousands of years of cultural knowledge is preserved for future generations. The number of voters is 206,731. Discussions will take place with the Papua New Guinea government to decide when – or if – the transition to full independence can begin. The original paper can be found here. Many handsets had flat batteries on the day of the group interview – this indicates a technological challenge of daily life in Bougainville, which has consequences for mobile telephone initiatives. 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. 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. Melanesia at stands at a crossroads, Which Way? [6] King, T. (2013). ” Chair of the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC)  Bertie Ahern last  week  stressed to the UN the need for focus on maintaining peace in Papua New Guinea after an independence referendum in the region later this year. Some believe it could provide a future revenue source for Bougainville should it become independent. 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. Even 15 youth who live in the jungle and wear bright Upe hats as they undergo traditional training to become men had the chance to vote. The Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) formally wound up operations in accordance with its Charter on 31 May 2020. Gurias Shake Off Hagen Eagles in Opening Match, Momase Teachers:Government To Abolish PNG Teachers Association, Two Arrested For Tax Related Fraud & Corruption. Flip The Script: Nora Vagi Brash, Which Way Big Man? 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 new country – should it happen – would be small, with a land mass of less than 10,000 sq km (slightly larger than Cyprus, and slightly smaller than Lebanon). 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. Bougainville’s people will vote on October 17 to either become an independent state or to have greater autonomy within PNG. The young Upe men can remain isolated from their communities for several years as they learn about culture, medicine, hunting and other skills. Still, as is well known, the vote is not binding. This meant eliminating “alien viruses” that come from the arrival of foreign nations such as France, Germany, Britain and Australia, as well as the mining companies and the PNG government. Coventry University’s Matt Qvortrup was in Port Moresby to speak to lawmakers about possible scenarios after the referendum. The Bougainville Peace Agreement does not provide a solution for all the issues related to the post … During this time, they wear the tall, woven Upe hats that hide their hair and are forbidden to be seen by women. Bougainvilleans want to defend the earth while mining companies like Panguna mine are indifferent to the suffering of people and destruction their land, all in the name of progress and development. Most people hope the two sides can find a “Melanesian solution” that will deliver a workable form of autonomy for Bougainville, says Pryke, using the term that describes the region of the South Pacific that includes PNG, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and other island nations and territories. The referendum is a key part of a 2001 peace agreement that ended a brutal civil war in which at least 15,000 people died in the cluster of islands to the east of the Papua New Guinea mainland. Clan rivalry and suspicion persists, particularly in regard to land rights and resource development. 10-15 years from 2005. 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. The BRC had sought for additional time for the referendum roll to be updated so that the outcome is credible and has integrity. Speaker, — 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) November 14, 2019, The Bougainville visit by the 6 man 60 minutes team was managed by Zhon Bosco Miriona , Steven Tamiung and Colin Cowell from Bougainville Experience Tours Arawa see Part 3 below, Main agenda was a link with China in the Pacific and Bougainville, Picture below Steven Tamiung with the 60 Minutes Crew, Part 1 U.S. edges China out of race to fund Bougainville independence vote. Francis Ona, leader of BRA, told his followers that in order to purify Bougainville they must be the first ones to be purified. The vote in PNG’s autonomous region of Bougainville, formerly the site of a bloody civil conflict, will run from Nov. 23 to Dec. 7, and could trigger separation negotiations to create a new nation in the strategic waters of the Pacific.”, Background to the 60 Minutes Story to be broadcast Sunday 17 November, Why is China on the move in the South Pacific? Marian Movements and Secessionist Warfare in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. 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. The Pacific Region is fast becoming important for competing superpowers for geopolitical and economic strategy. Bougainville’s people are expected to vote decisively for independence in the Oct. 17 referendum, according to Jonathan Pryke, Pacific Islands program director at the Lowy Institute, a Sydney-based policy think tank. Bougainville News 2020 : The Bougainville referendum and the fate of Melanesia: Which Way, Big Man? Election officers also traveled by overnight boat to get to some of the five offshore atolls and visited a police lockup to collect votes from prisoners. The fourth Agenda looked at the Restoration and Development Grants in which both governments have been at loggerheads over the calculations for the RDG. Available at: [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. But the process of becoming a separate nation could take years to achieve. [1] The vote is the result of an agreement between the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government. In 2019 he was seconded to the Bougainville Referendum Commission to lead the media and voter communications campaign. This site remains as an archive of all BRC public information regarding the conduct of the Bougainville referendum. Nevertheless, the landslide victory will put pressure on PNG to grant Bougainville independence. [3]. 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. That JSB meeting is set to be held in south Bougainville, in Buin. 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. I look forward to talking more about my vision for this process when I travel to Bougainville later this week”, the Prime Minister said. ” 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. The greed of the elite is causing great pain in the Pacific Islands in the name of development and those local elites (masters of modernity) whose day to day preoccupation is perhaps about what’s tonight dinner menu at a Chinese restaurant tonight. Such major change will require a fundamental shift in our consciousness to realize that the value and integrity of life in the indigenous cultures of Bougainville or Palestine is just as important as those in London or Beijing. 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. Approved for the Post Referendum Task Force to identify facilitators/moderators to assist in the Post referendum negotiation period. “Now, at least psychologically, we feel liberated,” said John Momis, president of the regional autonomous government. For now, a lack of accommodation inhibits tourism. Mobile telephone users in Bougainville struggle with accessing continuous, reliable mobile network coverage and keeping their handset batteries charged – and they want radio coverage restored to pre-conflict standards. The first Greater Autonomy for Bougainville and the other full Independence from Papua New Guinea. The mine was a huge export earner for Papua New Guinea, but many in Bougainville felt they got no benefit and resented the pollution and disruption to their traditional way of living. We can choose, if we will” The Melanesian Way (Bernard Narakobi). 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. Bougainville Referendum News : Chair of #BRC Bernie Ahern travels from the #UnitedNations in New York to Arawa , Buin and Buka for Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) roadshow this week, Bougainville News Alerts this week : Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne visits Bougainville ahead of independence referendum and amid fears #Bougainville independence will open Pacific door for China. But I'm confident that what I have witnessed and learnt is a resilience and an unwavering commitment to peace by peaceful means". 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. Australia has a significant stake in the outcome of the November referendum. Papua New Guinea, which fought a decade-long civil war with Bougainville rebels ending in the late 90s, is trying to convince. [2], According to the Bougainville Peace Agreement, a referendum which includes the option of independence must be held at the latest by June 2020. There will also be a presentation by the audience researcher who analysed the impact of the service. Referendum is one of the pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA). Interviewed by Anna-Karina Hermken, Author of “Marian Movements and Secessionist      Warfare in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea” (November 22nd, 2005). Thanking Bougainville Referendum Commission Chairman, Bertie Ahern for his leadership and guidance, the Prime Minister acknowledged the safe and peaceful manner in which the vote occurred. We are reborn.”. 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.”. 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