SOLOMON ISLANDS CRISIS

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PACIFIC CONCERNS RESOURCE CENTRE (PCRC) Suva, Fiji Islands

MEDIA RELEASE June 22, 2000

HIGHLIGHTS PACIFIC MILITARIZATION

The current crisis in the Solomon Islands will not be resolved by military means, but only by addressing indigenous land issues which underlie economic, social and cultural problems, according to the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre.

"Many media reports have presented the Solomon Islands crisis as a 'law and order' issue, or simply as an inter-ethnic conflict. But the concerns of the people over indigenous land rights have been overlooked by the national governments for many years.

There is a need to focus on land issues in Guadalcanal, a central element in the economic, social and cultural crisis affecting all grassroots people in the Solomon Islands," stated Losena Tubanavau-Salabula, PCRC's Assistant Director for Demilitarization.

"The solution to the crisis should be sought by addressing long-standing grievances on issues such as land and compensation."

The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre calls for the Solomon Island's government and all other parties involved in the conflict to continue negotiations, and to resolve issues of concern through peaceful means, dialogue and consensus.

Mrs. Tubanavau-Salabula added: "We believe that the current crises in the Solomon Islands and Fiji are partly the result of the militarization of Pacific societies by outside powers. Foreign governments like Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand have supplied military equipment and training to police and military forces in the Pacific, and must take some responsibility for the consequences. These signs of militarization are all around: the arming of military and police units with high-powered rifles and sub-machine guns; the spill over from the decade-long war in Bougainville, or Australia's supply of patrol boats to the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, used to attack villagers in recent conflicts."

The response to the current crisis should not be to beef up military spending, but to invest positively in human development, in health, welfare and education. Support should also be provided for community-controlled initiatives in conflict resolution and reconciliation.

PCRC is the Secretariat of the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) movement, located in Suva, Fiji. PCRC is a Non-Governmental Organization in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

For further information, contact Losena Tubanavau-Salabula, PCRC Assistant Director for Demilitarization, at (679) 304649.

Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC) 83 Amy Street, Toorak Private Mail Bag, Suva FIJI

Phone: (679) 304649 Fax: (679) 304755 Email: pcrc@is.com.fj  Web: www.pcrc.org.fj 

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