Solidarity action group calls on NZ to support Kanak, Papuan independence

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A Kanak protest barricade (in the distance behind the group of protesters) near Nouméa
A Kanak protest barricade (in the distance behind the group of protesters) near Nouméa. Image: Caledonia NC community television

Asia Pacific Report

A New Zealand solidarity action group has called on the New Zealand government to back indigenous independence calls in the Pacific and press both France to grant Kanaks sovereignty and Indonesia to end its rule in West Papua.

Catherine Delahunty, a former Green Party MP and spokesperson for West Papua Action Aotearoa, said today it would be good timing to exert pressure on Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron visiting the New Caledonian capital Nouméa this week.

“France is not living up to its commitments under the Noumea Accord and not meeting its responsibilities towards a country listed on the UN Decolonisation Committee,” she said in a statement.

The West Papua Action Aotearoa network was standing in solidarity with the Kanak people who were struggling for independence from French rule, she said.

“The New Zealand government could show support for both the end of French rule in Kanaky and Indonesian rule in West Papua.

“Both these countries should withdraw their military and prepare to hand over executive power to the indigenous citizens of Kanaky and West Papua.”

Nouméa rioting ‘unsurprising’
Delahunty said that the rioting last week against the French authorities in Kanaky New Caledonia was “completely unsurprising” as the threats to an independent future by pushing through a a constitutional electoral bill to include more non-indigenous residents of Kanaky had caused outrage.

“Much like West Papua the colonial control of resources and government in Kanaky is oppressive and has created sustained resistance,” she said.

“Peace without justice maybe be temporarily restored but our government needs to call on France to do more than dialogue for the resumption of French control.

“Kanaky and West Papua deserve to be free.”

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