Bougainville’s course is set – no turning back now

bougainville

A visit by three former Papua New Guinea prime ministers in an attempt to stop Bouganvilleans voting for independence is a “complete waste of time and absurd,” says Martin Miriori, a leading figure in the Bougainville separatist movement.

Miriori is the former Bougainville Interim Government (BIG) and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) and Secretary and international spokesman.

A referendum on the status of Bougainville is scheduled for June 2019. It is the final step in the region’s lengthy Peace Agreement.

Miriori said there is no turning back because the people cannot forget about all the injustices and unfair treatment and the injuries caused to them during the crisis.

He said that Bougainvillean’s have already paid a huge price with a loss of more than 20, 000 lives during the 10 years of conflict, mostly as a result of the Papua New Guinea economic blockade imposed in 1990.

The blockade continued until the signing of the ceasefire agreement in April 1998 under the leadership of the late Bill Skate.

The three former prime ministers who make up the delegation are Sir Rabbie Namaliu, Sir Julius Chan and Paias Wingti.

Miriori pointed out that Sir Rabbie Namaliu was responsible for escalating the Bougainville crisis by sending in the PNG Defence Force, while Sir Julius Chan tried to send the mercenary group, Sandline, into Bougainville.

Miriori said that geographically, ethically, culturally and historically, Bougainville was never meant to be part of Papua New Guinea.

He said they are by nature and have from time immemorial always be part of the Solomon Islands Archipelago but cannot be part of the Independent State of Solomon Islands.

“Bougainville has all the wealth and natural resources, a big enough population and the natural sea Boundary to become an independent and sovereign state on its own.”

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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