Bougainville’s president John Momis has long been a towering figure in local politics. President for two consecutive terms since 2010, he was a leading instigator of the archipelago’s early secessionist movement in the 1970s while still a Catholic priest, then an important facilitator during the
In a referendum to decide on a future political relationship with Papua New Guinea, a 97.7% majority of Bougainvillean voters have chosen independence. The referendum voting process is now formally closed. A 40-day petition period passed without any complaint lodged, and international observer
Piled into the back of an overcrowded ute – appropriately named the “Highway Slave”, although formally known as a Public Motor Vehicle – we made the nine-hour expedition across bumpy, unsealed roads and through rivers without bridges to the district of Siwai to act as observers in
“Joyous” and “excited” aren’t the first adjectives I normally reach for to describe Buka town, but they are the ones that best encompass the mood here these referendum days.
Buka is the administrative capital of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and centre of operations of the two-
For two weeks from this Saturday, Bougainvilleans will exercise their right to say whether their autonomous archipelago on the eastern edge of Papua New Guinea should become an independent country. This long-awaited referendum was at the heart of the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement, which marked
As Bougainville prepares for a referendum on independence, Australia must navigate a policy response that acknowledges the history of conflict and colonialism there, Bougainville nationalism, PNG sensitivities, the principles of the guiding Bougainville Peace Agreement and new geostrategic
The referendum to take Bougainville a step closer to full independence finally looks set to start on 23 November, after the issuing of the writs late last month. Voters will have a fortnight to reach the polling places, which will close on 7 December. The Referendum Commission, chaired by former
The Pacific Islands is in a period of transition, with two new potential independent states on the horizon. In New Caledonia and Bougainville, referenda on self-determination are the culmination of decades-long peace processes.
The first referendum was held in New Caledonia in November 2018. While
On 23 November this year, Bougainvilleans will vote in a referendum to decide whether they wish to stay part of Papua New Guinea or become an independent nation.
It is perhaps the high point of a 20-year peace process that in turn followed a gruelling, 10-year battle for independence waged between
I was surprised and disturbed The Interpreter published the recent article (Australian media: missing in action on Bougainville) which included claims of a “paucity of coverage by the ABC of one of the most important running stories in the Pacific”.
As Managing Editor Asia Pacific
The ABC Managing Editor Asia Pacific, Kellie Mayo, has subsequently disputed aspects of this article; read her response here.
Bougainville – the autonomous region of Papua New Guinea which suffered a brutal 10-year civil conflict in the 1990s – was due to have a referendum in June to
With just under six months before Bougainvilleans go to the polls to decide if they want independence from Papua New Guinea, last month’s APEC leaders’ meeting in Port Moresby gave fresh impetus to assertions that Bougainville is yet another fly caught in the web of influence and counter-
There is disquiet among many for how post-conflict Bougainville society will evolve over the next generation if impunity reigns for the wartime horrors.
Over the next few months, the spotlight in our immediate region will turn to Bougainville and its referendum on independence from Papua New
Speculation about the future of the Panguna copper mine in Papua New Guinea’s autonomous region of Bougainville, which ignited a decade long civil war in the 1990s, peaked late last year when an application for exploration by former Rio Tinto subsidiary, Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL), was put to a