BOUGAINVILLE'S MOSES HAVINI SPEAKS OF PNG’S COLONIAL MENTALITY

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By Mele Laumanu Petelo

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (September 25 1997 - PIDP/CPIS)---The Sydney-based international political representative for the Bougainville Interim Government and Bougainville Revolutionary Army, Moses Havini, blames the "friendly nations of the Pacific for allowing Papua New Guinea to continue its human rights abuses on Bougainville."

Havini says these abuses have involved execution; bombardment from both air and sea, hamletting -- that is, taking villagers from their homes and put them in camps -- and raping.

He said, during an interview following last week's South Pacific Forum summit, that Pacific nations see PNG as a new colonial power because it has begun to emulate the colonial mentality of the last century, that most countries of the Pacific have fought against and are still fighting today.

Havini said Bougainville is the Bosnia of the South Pacific.

The suffering, the catastrophe of Bougainville, hasn’t been any different from the issues of those in Asia, Europe, the Middle East. Yet, he says, Pacific nations have allowed PNG to massacre the people of Bougainville who are merely fighting for their human rights.

He said most Pacific islands are members of the United Nations, and he feels that they have not performed their responsibility in advising their fellow country -- PNG -- that it has erred in terms of human rights abuses.

He said it is the obligation of governments to advise and correct their fellow country members regarding such matters.

Havini believes that Bougainville, like all other small nations of the Pacific, can stand on its own if given independence.

Like any other state in the Pacific, Havini said, Bougainville has its resources. They have the mineral resources and primary produce.

For 20 years since Papua New Guinea independence, Havini said, Bougainville was responsible for more than 50 per cent of the country’s GNP, 43 per cent of its foreign earnings, and a contribution of 17 percent towards PNG’s internal revenue.

Havini is looking forward to the next round of Bougainville peace talks in New Zealand. He is hoping for a cease-fire and a complete withdrawal of PNG troops from the embattled, mineral-rich island. He believes Bougainvilleans should be given the right of self-determination, as he believes they are capable of running their own affairs.

Havini estimates about 15,000 people have died during the nine-year Bougainville insurrection, mainly from normally-preventable diseases such as malaria and dysentery, and women in child birth. These deaths were due mainly to the blockade imposed by PNG, he said, which prevented normal medical service and drugs from reaching the people of Bougainville.

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