New Caledonia referendum challenged in Euro human rights court

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The European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights ... next challenge for the pro-Kanak independence movement over the "stolen referendum" in New Caledonia. Image: ECHR

RNZ Pacific

The holding of New Caledonia’s third and final referendum on independence from France during the covid-19 pandemic last year is being challenged in the European Court of Human Rights.

Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports a voter wants France to be convicted in the court in Strasbourg for holding the vote in December despite pleas for its deferral.

Pro-independence parties had repeatedly asked for the vote to be postponed to this year because of the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on the indigenous Kanak people.

Paris dismissed the concerns.

More than 96 percent of the electorate rejected independence in the December vote, which was marked by a low turnout after the pro-independence parties called on their supporters to abstain.

The pro-independence side continues to refuse to accept the result as the legitimate outcome for the people to be decolonised.

New Caledonia's pro-independence umbrella organisation objects to choice of referendum date
New Caledonia’s pro-independence umbrella organisation #StolenReferendum objected to the choice of referendum date. Image: RNZ

Last month, France’s highest administrative court rejected a claim by the Kanak customary Senate that the impact of the pandemic was such that the referendum outcome was illegitimate.

The court found that neither constitutional provisions nor the organic law made the validity of the vote conditional on a minimum turnout.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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