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PORT VILA, VANUATU (25 May 2023): The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat has reiterated its support for the call by the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) on the Administering power to return to the spirit of the Noumea Accord, in the negotiations post-Referendums, which has resulted in the peaceful co-existence of all stakeholders in New Caledonia.

Director General of the MSG Secretariat, Leonard Louma, made the call while delivering his remarks at the Pacific Regional Seminar on the Implementation of the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism in Bali, Indonesia on 24 May 2023.

With the theme “Innovative steps to ensure the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Non-Self-Governing Territories”, the seminar was held under the auspices of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (C-24).

DG Louma said that the FLNKS, a member of the MSG family, consists of and represents the indigenous and colonised people of New Caledonia – a Non-Self-Governing Territory within the meaning of the UN Charter and Resolution 1514 (XV) and entitled to the ultimate objectives of the decolonisation process – that of independence.

“We are here to support the FLNKS and Kanaks call for New Caledonia to be released from the shackles of colonialism.”
“For us at the MSG, that were in the vanguard of action to have New Caledonia re-inscribed on the Committee of 24 list in 1986, we value the recognition by the UN family of New Caledonia’s continuing status as a Non-Self-Governing Territory and by that virtue affording its colonised people’s an entitlement to aspire for independence,” he stated.

DG Louma said that as a party and signatory to the Noumea Accord, FLNKS continues to engage, in good faith, with the Administering Power to achieve its aspirations of full sovereignty. He emphasised that the spirit and intent that went into the framing of the Noumea Accord embodies the “irreversibility” of the process towards full sovereignty. 

He noted that the circumstances and manner in which the Third Referendum in New Caledonia was conducted in December 2021 during the height of Covid 19 challenges, and despite calls to defer the referendum by the FLNKS, leaves much to be desired. 

This he said, has inevitably called to question the credibility of the process and the legitimacy of the results when 56.13% of the registered voters did not participate in the referendum. 

“We remain ready to assist FLNKS in its efforts to seek legal validation of its position on the Third Referendum and the questionable validity of its results,” he added.    

DG Louma emphasised that, MSG is of the view that in the absence of a decision by the General Assembly that New Caledonia, a Non-Self-Governing Territory, has attained a full measure of self-government in terms of Chapter XI of the UN Charter, the Administering Power has the obligation to faithfully discharge its responsibilities to prepare New Caledonia for independence within the spirit and meaning of the UN Resolution 1514 (XV).    

MSG countries he said, are committed to do whatever they can to help New Caledonia through the FLNKS vehicle attain its aspirations of sovereignty through peaceful means.

“Let us all utilise the opportunity provided by the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism to re-examine our efforts and inject more vigour in our commitment to end colonialism. In some cases we may require to correct course in our strategies and efforts,” he noted. 

DG Louma proudly acknowledged Fiji and Papua New Guinea, for their unremitting involvement in the work of the Committee of 24, with regards to specific contribution by MSG to advance the decolonisation agenda concerning the remaining territories on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories (New Caledonia), 

“We at the MSG recognise our responsibility to assist with the efforts to prepare the Kanaks and New Caledonia towards the genuine exercise of their right to self-determination and eventual accession to independence status,” DG Louma said.

New Caledonia continues to enjoy invitations from the MSG to participate in our sporting and cultural events, as part of the MSG’s recalibrated strategy and plans, namely their participation at the MSG’s flagship cultural event, the Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival (MACFEST), and the MSG Prime Minister’s Cup Football Tournament.  

Another is the inclusion of FLNKS Representatives on MSG countries’ Delegations to International Meetings as part of the diplomatic efforts to solicit support for New Caledonia’s independence, among others.

In an effort to build transformative pathways to advance the Fourth International Decade for Ending Colonialism, DG Louma proposed a number of ideas including the proposal that New Caledonia be allowed to enter into Trade Agreements with neighbouring Pacific Countries. 

DG Louma concluded that there is an important nexus between the attainment of SDG in Non-Self-Governing Territories and their aspirations of self-determination and independence.

“Actions aimed at attainment of these SDG targets will ensure that when Territories and Peoples to which Resolution 1514 (XV) applies eventually attain full self-determination and independence, they will be better placed to take on responsibilities of governance, better assured of maintaining sustainable economic prosperity, better able to sustain equitable and decent living standards and able to take their seats amongst the family of nations as viable independent states,” he said. 

For DG Louma's full speech please click below:

Caption: Director General of the MSG Secretariat, Leonard Louma delivering his remarks at the Pacific Regional Seminar on the Implementation of the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism in Bali, Indonesia on 24 May 2023.

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