In Fiji:

May 19, 2024, 1:06 pm
Regional, World

Pacific groups urge UN and leaders to intervene in Kanaky-New Caledonia

Fiji One News Team
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The Pacific Regional Non-Governmental Organizations (PRNGOs) Alliance, alongside the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) and other leaders from Kanaky-New Caledonia, has issued an urgent call for calm and peace amid escalating violence in the Pacific Island territory.

The unrest stems from the French government’s push for constitutional changes that pro-independence groups have explicitly rejected.

The Alliance stands in solidarity with the people of Kanaky-New Caledonia in their ongoing struggle for self-determination, condemning the French government’s perceived agenda to maintain colonial control over the territory.

Kanak leaders have persistently called for the withdrawal of proposed changes to local electoral rolls, warning that such alterations could undermine indigenous rights and disrupt ongoing peaceful dialogues about the territory’s future.

Despite these protests, the Macron government has pushed through the changes, passing them in the French Senate and National Assembly.

These moves have sparked violent reactions, particularly among Kanak youth, who see this as another betrayal. The unrest has resulted in four confirmed fatalities, including three Kanak youth and a French policeman, with reports indicating involvement from pro-French militias.

The deteriorating security situation is exacerbated by damage to essential shops and outlets, creating humanitarian challenges for the local population. The PRNGOs Alliance has expressed its condolences to the affected families and communities, emphasizing the need for peace and stability.

As the United Nations Decolonisation Committee (C24) regional seminar convenes in Caracas, Venezuela, France has imposed a state of emergency in Kanaky-New Caledonia and deployed additional troops to restore order. This response is seen as hypocritical by the PRNGOs Alliance, which highlights the French government’s role in perpetuating violence through institutional processes.

Local leaders have condemned the violence and urged responsibility in addressing the frustrations of the youth. However, narratives from loyalist voices and French government representatives continue to blame independence supporters for the hostilities.

President Macron has called for immediate dialogue in Paris, a move the Kanaky people reject, insisting that decisions about their future should not be made in France.

The PRNGOs Alliance argues that the French government is unfit to oversee the decolonisation process and calls for UN intervention to ensure a fair and peaceful transition. In solidarity with the Kanaky-New Caledonia people, the Alliance urges:

  1. Local leaders to maintain calm and peace within their communities.
  2. Pacific Islands Forum leaders, particularly from Fiji and Papua New Guinea, to support the Kanaky-New Caledonia delegation in highlighting the French government’s failures at the C24 seminar in Caracas and the session in New York in June 2024.
  3. The French Presidency to immediately withdraw the constitutional changes that threaten indigenous voting rights.
  4. The UN and Pacific leaders to send a neutral mission to oversee and mediate dialogue between all parties to the Noumea Accords.
  5. The call to action underscores the urgent need for international support to ensure justice and stability in Kanaky-New Caledonia.