A High-level delegation from New Caledonia was in Honiara to consult with Solomon Islands as an MSG member on an option of pursuing the results of the December 2021 UN self-determination referendum at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The delegation led by the President of the New Caledonia Congress, Hon. Roch Wamytan was in the country from December 8th -10th visiting Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) states on its proposal.

New Caledonia has held three referendum of self-determination in 2018, 2020, and 2021 respectively.

The final referendum took place in December 2021 and of which 93.61% voted NO to independence, and 3.40% voted YES to independence.

The indigenous Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) argued that due to COVID-19, only 44 percent of the legitimate population voted during the final referendum.

The delegation met the Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare as well as the Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Peter Shanel Agovaka to support the proposal.

In his briefing, Hon Wamytan said the 2021 referendum was not fair as the indigenous kanak people did not fully participate.

Mr. Wamytan therefore clarified that the legitimacy and credibility of the third referendum is questionable, and the only way they are pursuing redress to this is by bringing the issue before the ICJ.

The Kanaks had requested the postponement of the referendum due to covid-19; they argued that the majority of the indigenous population boycotted the poll which resulted in a resounding vote for New Caledonia to stay with France.

The supervising Minister, Hon. Shanel said the issue of voting during the last referendum was an internal matter for New Caledonia and France to resolve and agreed on a process to lead the way forward, one that Solomon Islands will support in every way possible.

Minister Shanel noted the position of the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) on disputed referendum and assured the delegation that Solomon Islands will consult with MSG countries on the proposed intentions put forward.

“We will also continue to engage with the FLNKS through the Melanesia Spearhead Group,” he remarked.

He stressed that Solomon Islands support must be seen as keeping to the spirit contained in the relevant United Nations Charter on decolonization, relevant Human Rights Instruments, and self- determination UN resolutions on decolonization.

He thanked Hon. Wamytan for the request to meet and warmly welcomed him to the Solomon Islands.

Source: Press Release