Header Ads

Reconciliation provides 'assurance' for Bougainville referendum

A major reconciliation ceremony this week is providing a form of security assurance for Bougainville's upcoming independence referendum.

Members of former warring groups in Bougainville are holding their reconciliation in Kokopo, the capital of Papua New Guinea's East New Britain.

The two-day reconciliation involves former Bougainvillean combatants and members of PNG's security forces.

Gerald Tulu Manu-Peni, of the Bougainville Unification Core Group, described it as a milestone reconciliation between the former opponents in Bougainville's civil war which raged through the 1990s.

“It gives assurance from the Bougainville veterans to Papua New Guinea and the international community that there will not be any war or incitement going on in Bougainville during the referendum and after the referendum,” Manu-Peni said.

“It also gives assurances on the part of the PNG security forces on our citizens, Bougainvillean citizens living in and around towns of PNG - opportunists might use the referendum result and outcome to do anything against them - so it gives assurance on both sides, in Bougainville and outside of Bougainville.”

As well as the former fighters, PNG government officials are also in attendance in Kokopo to participate in customary rituals informed by the Melanesian spirit of forgiveness.

“There will be ceremonial sharing of betelnut, ceremonial breaking of bows and arrows, and also ceremonial planting of a coconut tree.”

Manu-Peni, who has been travelling around Bougainville conducting awareness for the referendum, said the vast majority of Bougainvilleans were well-prepared and “referendum-ready”.

“It's a long time coming. The population of Bougainville, they're looking forward to the referendum because they know how important it is to Bougainvilleans - what we have gone through, our history.”

The referendum's two-week polling period starts on 23 November.


Next :

Rugby league’s Pacific revolution goes global after Tongan triumph

Powered by Blogger.