‘Stop the violence, killing against Kanaks’ plea by Vanuatu MPs

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Condemnation of
Condemnation of alleged "despicable acts" by French colonialism . . . the eight ministers and MPs who signed the declaration. Image: Vanuatu Daily Post

Vanuatu Daily Post

All eight Members of Parliament from Vanuatu’s Tafea Province have made a bold and powerful call to French President Emmanuel Macron to “stop the violence and killing” being committed against the Kanak people of New Caledonia.

The MPs include Trade Minister Bob Loughman, a former prime minister; Internal Affairs Minister Johnny Koanapo; Youth and Sports Minister Tomker Netvunei; Agriculture Minister Nako Natuman; Jotham Napat; Andrew Napuat; Xavier Harry; and Simil Johnson.

“We, the MPs of Tafea Province, in this 13th Legislature of the Parliament of the Republic of Vanuatu, make the following statement based on the undeniable historical cultural links, which has existed from time immemorial between our people of Tafea and the Kanaky people of New Caledonia . . .,” their signed statement said.

Nine people have been killed during the unrest that began on May 13, five of them Kanaks and two were gendarmes.

“As Melanesians to call for greater solidarity and bring to the spotlight the despicable acts of France as a colonial power that still colonises the island nations and maritime boundaries of our nations,” the statement said.

“The recent events in New Caledonia is provoked by various ingredients which France has been cunningly cooking on their agenda over the years including the amendment of the electoral list which they understand very well that the Melanesians living in their own Kanaky mother land in New Caledonia are strongly opposed to it.

“Because they know that France is deliberately using ways to alienate their voices in their own motherland.”

‘Honour Nouméa Accord’ call to France
The MPs called on France to honour its commitment under the Nouméa Accord and engage in political dialogue, as was the custom in Melanesia and the Pacific.

The MPs said it was “unfair to the helpless people of New Caledonia to be confronted by a world military power such as France and shoot, imprison, and expose them to fear in such a manner that we have recently witnessed”.

They said France could not and must not act like this in the Pacific.

“France simply needs to dialogue with the Kanak leaders, listen and respect them as equals,” their statement said.

“The Kanaky [sic] are not their subjects of unequals. They are asking for their political autonomy. That’s all.

“Why is France still colonising countries when the world has gone past the colonisation decade? Why can’t they choose to colonise another country in Europe?

“France as an old democracy must end colonising people in this day and age. If the colonised people are yearning for freedom and they cannot fight with weapons to get their right to freedom, France must not act like a dictator to silence the dissenting voices who are yearning for freedom.

‘Listen . . . not silence them’
“We call on France to listen, learn [from] the voices of the people, and not silence them with the barrel of a gun and other military weapons.

“We want to see France as a civilised state to take responsibility and not shoot Melanesians from land and air as if they are in a war. Stop killing Melanesians.”

The leaders from TAFEA also call on Kanaky leaders, both Independentists and non-independentists, to come together and discuss a common solution.

“We see dialogue as a fundamental part of our Melanesian culture, and the state and all political parties must recognise the value of political dialogue,” they said.

“. . . [We] ask all the people of the Republic of Vanuatu, including the government, chiefs, and churches, to stand in solidarity with our Melanesian families in New Caledonia.

“We ask all praying Christians to pray for God’s intervention in the situation in New Caledonia, to restore peace, and to bring calm to the people of New Caledonia. God bless the people of New Caledonia.”

Republished from the Vanuatu Daily Post with permission.

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