EIGHTH NUCLEAR FREE AND INDEPENDENT PACIFIC CONFERENCE

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Arue, Tahiti

MEDIA RELEASE

September 15, 1999

Mr. Oscar Temaru, leader of Tavini Huiraatira, the main pro-independence political party of French Polynesia, today pledged the support of his party for the people of East Timor.

Mr. Temaru, the mayor of Faa’a municipality, was speaking in Tahiti at a press conference for the upcoming Eighth Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Conference (NFIP), to be held September 19-25.

"Colonialism has one face, whether it is French colonialism, British colonialism, American colonialism or Indonesian colonialism," Mr. Temaru said. "We will organize help for the people of East Timor."

Mr. Oscar Temaru emphasized that the theme of the conference, "For Justice, For Truth and for Independence," is timely, especially for French Polynesia, and that all the different political tendencies, NGOs and Churches have been invited to participate in this crucial conference.

Also speaking at the press conference was Lopeti Senituli, the Director of the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC), which is the secretariat of the NFIP Movement. Senituli called the conference a historic and significant occasion.

"The NFIP Movement has tried to organize a conference here in Te Ao Maohi since 1980 but was not allowed. We tried to organize a conference here in 1983. It was not possible. We tried again in 1990. It was not possible. In 1991 we tried to have an executive board meeting here. I still was not possible. In 1994 we tried again. It was not possible. This is the first time it has been possible for us to organize a major conference here.

"So this is a historic occasion. It is also historic in the other sense that the NFIP Movement was founded in 1975, the year that East Timor was invaded by Indonesia.

"In 1999 East Timor, for the first time, exercised their right to self-determination. The question is, when will the people of French-occupied Polynesia be allowed to exercise their right to self-determination?"

Ms. Ceu Brites of the East Timor Relief Association (ETRA) says the NFIP Movement has a vital role to play in the rebuilding of East Timor.

"The people of East Timor need humanitarian support – doctors, medicine, food. East Timor as a country and its people are very traumatized. The people of the Pacific can help us," she said.

Ms. Brites is a delegate at the conference representing ETRA, which comes under the umbrella of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT).

The NFIP Movement unites community based and non-government organizations from 25 countries around the region. The Tahiti conference brings together representatives of the member organizations of the NFIP Movement: church groups, independence movements, land rights activists, women’s rights campaigners, environmental groups and peace movements.

(For more information, please contact Stanley Simpson or Maire Bopp at the conference secretariat: Phone (689) 413 694 or 413696.)

MEDIA ADVISORY

Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific conference in Tahiti 19 – 25 September 1999

The Eighth Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) Conference will be held next week in Tahiti between September 19 – 25, 1999.

The conference of the regional NFIP movement is organized by the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC) and hosted by local pro-independence organizations in Tahiti.

Since 1975, the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) movement has met every three years to determine policy and priorities for campaigning.

The Tahiti conference will bring together representatives from the member organizations of the NFIP movement. Church leaders, representatives of independence movements, land rights activists, women’s rights campaigners, environmental groups – the NFIP movement unites community based and non-government organizations from 25 countries around the region.

The Conference is the key policy-making body of the NFIP movement, and elects an Executive Board for NFIP and its secretariat, the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre in Suva, Fiji. It will assess developments and changes that have taken place in the Pacific since the 1996 NFIP Conference in Suva and formulate campaigns for the coming years.

The first Nuclear Free Pacific Conference was held in 1975 at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva, Fiji. Since then, there have been conferences in: Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (1978); Honolulu, Hawai’i (1980); Port Vila, Vanuatu (1983); Manila, the Philippines (1987); Pawarenga, Aotearoa / New Zealand (1990) and Suva, Fiji (1996).

For the first time, the conference will be held in one of the French Pacific colonies, to express solidarity with the Maohi people of French Polynesia in their struggle for a self-determination and independence.

The Tahiti conference will be hosted by Tavini Huiraatira no Te Ao Maohi, the leading pro-independence party in the country. It will be held at the Evangelical Church Centre in Arue, Tahiti, thanks to the support of the Eglise Evangélique de la Polynésie Française (EEPF).

The conference theme is:

"No Te Parau Tia, No Te Parau Mau, No Te Tiamaraa - E Tu… E Tu…" "For justice, for truth and for independence - Wake Up Stand up".

Keynote speakers, panel discussions and workshops will focus on five major sub-themes:

Some keynote speakers:

M. Oscar Temaru (Mayor of Faa’a, Tahiti, Te Ao Maohi)

Dr. Sitiveni HALAPUA (Pacific Island Development Program, Hawai’i)

Mr. Clark PETERU (Intellectual Property Rights Lawyer, Samoa)

Dr. Corbin CARLYLE (Minister of External Affairs, US Virgin Islands)

Dr. Hjalmar DAHL (Inuit Circumpolar Conference)

Mrs. Hilda LINI (former Minister of Justice, Vanuatu)

Mrs. Corazon FABROS (Secretary General, Nuclear Free Philippines Coalition)

Some other delegates and participants available for interview from September 20:

Mr. Lopeti SENITULI (Director, Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, Fiji)

Pa Tepaeru ARIKI (President, House of Ariki, Iles Cook)

Mr. ‘Akilisi POHIVA (Member of Parliament, Tonga)

M. Louis Kotra UREGEI (Union Syndicale des Travailleurs Kanak et Exploités, Noumea)

Mrs. Sophia GEGEYO (National Council of Churches, PNG)

Ms. Ceu BRITES (East Timor Relief Association)

Representatives of the South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) and UNDP SIDSnet

The final days of the conference will also focus on strategies and plans for further actions, at local, regional and international levels.

(The conference secretariat can be contacted at (689) 413694 or 413696. To arrange interviews contact Mr. Stanley Simpson or Ms. Maire Bopp Du Pont.)

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