Pacific Concerns Resource Centre on Solomons intervention

Peter Boyle peterb at dsp.org.au
Fri Jul 18 00:23:42 MDT 2003


PACIFIC CONCERNS RESOURCE CENTRE Inc.
83 Amy Street, Toorak,
Private Mail Bag, Suva, Fiji Islands.
Telephone: (679) 330 4649 Facsimile: (679) 330 4755
E-mail: pcrc at connect.com.fj

MEDIA RELEASE  11 July 2003

Let the people decide!

The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre is wary and gravely
concerned about the deployment of 15 Australian military
personnel in the sovereign state of the Solomon Islands to
pave the way for the arrival of another 2,000 strong forces.

Australia has no justification for their intervention even
if they say it was upon request by the Solomon Islands Prime
Minister Allan Kamekeza. To our knowledge a public
referendum has not been conducted in the Solomon Islands to
justify the Prime Minister’s drastic decision.

In August 2000 a National Peace Conference organized by the
Solomon Islands Christian Association (SICA) in Honiara,
which was a collective effort by Solomon islanders at
addressing a comprehensive peace process clearly pointed in
the direction of “
demilitarization under international
control” , amongst other principles which they saw
fundamental to the peace process and regaining stability.

A hundred and fifty (150) Solomon islanders from the island
provinces, church delegates, women and youth organizations
as well as the business sector and the traditional
authorities such as the village elders and chiefs
participated in this conference convened on board the New
Zealand frigate Te Kaha off the coast of Honiara.

And it is for this reason that PCRC pleads with Solomon
Islands leaders not to trade off their peoples’ sovereignty,
indigenous rights, cultural heritage and dignity.

Moreover, PCRC challenges Solomon Islanders and other
Pacific leaders including Australia to assist in providing a
platform in which Solomon Islanders can determine for
themselves the type of government, reconciliation and
reconstruction needed in bringing about a sustainable
future.

If Australia Government genuinely feels for the humanitarian
dilemma Solomon Islanders are facing then they should reject
the arrogant and neo-colonial recommendations made by the
much-publicized Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)
stating that “the collapse of Solomon Islands is depriving
Australia of business and investment opportunities”. PCRC is
appalled at the alleged plans for an establishment of a
“governing council of about 12 people led by a chief
executive with a light infantry company on standby, a
judicial team of 20, prison staff, a group of accountants
and other financial managers to administer the economy”.

This cheque-book diplomacy and military strategy of the
Australian Government will not resolve the crisis. The
further proposal by ASPI that “A constitutional review be
held, with a form of federalism as an option” is even more
preposterous. There is no mention or consideration for
Solomon Islanders to determine for themselves whether
federalism is the most appropriate form of government in the
country.

Clearly, the sovereignty of Solomon Islands is being
flagrantly disregarded under this grand scheme.

If this intervention by Australia is left unchallenged and
unquestioned, the Pacific will be setting for itself a
dangerous precedent. To reiterate, Solomon Islanders have
clearly outlined the foundation in which they want the
rebuilding of their country to take shape and it will be
opportune to fully exhaust the mechanisms within the United
Nations first.

We urge the Solomon Islands government and Pacific
Governments to consider an internationally and UN backed
approach as requested by civil society organisations in
Solomon Islands three years ago.

PCRC believes that an alternative to the current dominant
military paradigm advocated by Australian Government for
Solomon Islands is needed to resolve the situation of
conflict and therein lies the challenge.

For further information contact Peter Emberson, Assistant
Director - Pacific News Bulletin, or Tupou Vere, Assistant
Director - Sustainable Human Development Phone: (679) 3304
649 / 3304 588,
Email: pemberson at pcrc.org.fj or tvere at pcrc.org.fj





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