Bougainville independence campaigners are bracing for this next step; the copper mine, estimated to be worth $58 billion, has long been a point of territorial contention. A decade-long civil war in the 1990s, often referred to as the ‘Bougainville crisis’ (those familiar with the Lloyd Jones novel Mr Pip will recognise the setting) devastated the region. Yet there’s few outward signs of PTSD. Buka, Bougainville (PACNews)-- Autonomous Bougainville Government President, Grand Chief Dr John Momis has hinted a possible five year time-line to negotiate possible independence from Papua New Guinea for the people of Bougainville. In the meantime, those who campaigned for independence are looking forward. About 207,000 Bougainvilleans are registered to vote on whether Melanesian isles will become world’s newest country. Mohin said he and other activists will begin building the region's economy, educational system, and health services, in preparation for an independent future. The simple fact is… However, Peake cautioned that more complex work lies ahead, and that the fight has only been half won. Joyous voters in the Pacific island chain of Bougainville cheered and sang as they flocked to the polls Saturday at the start of a long-awaited referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea. An autonomous region in Papua New Guinea, Bougainville is aiming for independence and elected a president who shares that ambition. About 207,000 Bougainvilleans are registered to vote and decide whether the Melanesian isles will become the world’s newest country. Women and children wear traditional dress at a referendum polling station in Buka, Bougainville, on November 25, 2019. Bougainville has voted overwhelmingly to seek independence from Papua New Guinea, with more than 97 per cent in favour of autonomy. Some remarked that days of heavy rain preceding Saturday’s vote were a sort of “baptism” for a community that still vividly remembers the pain of conflict. Their choice is between full independence or greater autonomy within PNG. Joyous voters in the Pacific island chain of Bougainville cheered and sang as they flocked to the polls Saturday at the start of a long-awaited referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea. Updated 2:37 AM ET, Wed December 11, 2019. “We should not rush things, we should take our time to ensure a good outcome,” he said, adding that a final result “could be five years” away. As a Bougainvillean and a Papua New Guinean, I am less concerned about Greater Autonomy, Independence (or the ‘Third Choice’ whatever it might be). A referendum, 20 years in the making, is underway to decide whether the small island of Bougainville in the south west Pacific will seek full independence from Papua New Guinea (PNG). Polls will stay open for two weeks to ensure those in remote villages have a say, with a result expected in December. On Saturday morning in Bougainville's main city Buka, at least 1,000 people gathered as polls opened, with scenes of singing and dancing as excitement grew over the possibility of independence. More than 1,000 people waited on Saturday morning to cast their ballots at one polling station in the main city of Buka, as others formed makeshift choirs that stomped through the streets, waving independence flags, blowing bamboo pipes and chanting in chorus. Bougainville Independence Day From The Guardian, (Australia) 9 September 1998. The South Pacific region of Bougainville has voted for independence from Papua New Guinea. Former French President Giscard d’Estaing dies of COVID-19 at 94, US: Biden, top Democrats back bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill, Saudi Arabia, Qatar near agreement in Gulf crisis: Sources, Trump releases video repeating debunked election fraud claims, Trump discussed pre-emptive pardons for family: Reports. Gianluca Rampolla, the United Nations resident coordinator in PNG. Bougainville women’s rep and proud mother Gertrude Gaunara said she was emotional when the results were announced. The referendum is not a determining vote. But the territory has historically shared a closer affinity with the neighbouring Solomon Islands than PNG. But rejection would risk rekindling former feuds and destroying the peace process. Why are thousands of Indian farmers protesting? Bougainville votes on independence from Papua New Guinea. Next, the Bougainville and Papua New Guinea governments will need to meet and negotiate details for a new relationship. Two weeks before Papua New Guinea was scheduled to gain independence from Australia in 1975, leaders in Bougainville tried to opt out by declaring their own independent Republic of the North Solomons. If voters do choose independence, the decision would need ratification from the PNG Parliament, where there is anxiety that Bougainville could set a precedent and spur other independence movements within the diverse country. It was an emotional moment for me. EX-TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern has declared a landslide referendum vote backing Bougainville’s independence from Papua New Guinea. ", When asked if the issue was now resolved, he gave an emphatic "Yes.". “I am so happy,” said 54-year-old Olitha Mokela. More than 181,000 people voted in the independence referendum in Bougainville, a group of islands that sit on one of the world's largest copper mines, off … " As we celebrate Independence Day for 2019, I want to reflect on the upcoming referendum and the future political path of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea (PNG), has been inhabited by humans for at least 29,000 years, according to artefacts found in Kilu Cave on Buka Island. Bougainville's conman 'king' still on the run as island edges closer to independence Ten years ago, ABC journalist Liam Fox met Bougainville's self … The vote is a significant indicator of public sentiment, but is non-binding, and will now need to be approved by the Papua New Guinea parliament before Bougainville can become its own country. The results were met with celebration in Bougainville, where the results were announced in the city of Buka. The civil war had in part been over a dispute about the mine's management, and some predict Papua New Guinea will be reluctant to lose access to the region's valuable natural resources. Afghan gov’t, Taliban announce breakthrough deal in peace talks, Kurd vs Kurd: Fears of full-scale war rise in northern Iraq, Al Jazeera Centre for Public Liberties & Human Rights. About 207,000 Bougainvilleans are registered to vote on whether Melanesian isles will become world’s newest country. Chairman of the Central Bougainville Events Committee and Kieta District Executive Manager Tonny Moera said over the years there was never much emphasis on the celebrations. An independence referendum for the Pacific island of Bougainville has been delayed by four months to October 17, leaders of the island and Papua New Guinea said on Friday. A former veteran who fought in the civil war, he said he had been working "around the clock" to ensure the vote could go forward -- and now "we got what we wanted.". ... saying it is 'a day of shame' and party has 'failed Jewish people'" 176,928 votes for independence have been recorded out of 181,067 ballots. The celebrations are aimed at encouraging economic recovery, reconciliation and celebrating Bougainville’s achievements on its path to the referendum and its ultimate political goal; independence. Preparations for the voting were peaceful, and in recent weeks once-sworn enemies have taken part in tearful reconciliation ceremonies, where arrows were snapped to symbolise the end of a vicious conflict. The mine, unused for 30 years and its infrastructure and equipment stolen or trashed, will require a decade and billions of dollars to restitute. Papua New Guinea gained its independence on September 16, but with Australia's assistance, refused to recognise Bougainville's independence. Voting information pamphlets at a polling station in the Bougainville capital Buka on November 22, 2019. But in a sign of hopeful cooperation with the national government, Momis was accompanied to the polling station by Puka Temu, PNG’s minister for Bougainville affairs. 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