Vanuatu ‘Co-Sponsors’ Renewed Tahiti Decolonization Bid

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Vanuatu ‘Co-Sponsors’ Renewed Tahiti Decolonization Bid Government called to clarify position on colonized territories

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 18, 2013) – Vanuatu’s unwavering stand on the urgency for all the remaining colonies in the Pacific and the world to be decolonized has not changed because the Prime Minister’s Office through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has confirmed that the Government "co-sponsored" the Motion for Tahiti at the United Nations to be returned to the Decolonization List.

The Motion was sponsored by the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Gordon Darcy Lilo, and co-sponsored by Vanuatu at the latest sitting of the United Nations in New York.

Government Public Relations Officer (PRO) Jeff Patunvanu made the confirmation after the Chairman of the Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC), Anglican Bishop James Ligo returned from the Tenth General Assembly of the Pacific Council of Churches (PCC) in Honiara, Solomon Island this week, with a sad story that out of all the Pacific Island Nations, only Tuvalu and Niue supported the motion for Tahiti to return to the Decolonization List. Vanuatu’s involvement was not mentioned.

The Government PRO said the Embassy of Vanuatu in New York has confirmed Vanuatu’s involvement in the motion and is following up on the matter to find out why the information that was made available to the PCC did not include Vanuatu.

Without the vital information on Vanuatu’s involvement in the Motion, the Chairman of VCC immediately asked the Government to clarify where Vanuatu stands regarding its Decolonization Policy.

Bishop Ligo asked, "Where were Vanuatu and the rest of the Pacific island countries? We are the closest neighbor of the Solomons so the Government has to come out clear on our position on the remaining colonized territories in the world and especially Tahiti and West Papua.

"Tahiti was already on the list and was going to be granted its self-determination on the next day in 1947 when then the most powerful man in France, General de Gaulle who was then the President of France, cancelled Tahiti’s name from the list to remain a colony of France. I want to assure your Daily Post readers that as we speak, the process is currently on towards returning Tahiti to the Decolonization List."

The Government PRO said it was clear that the information provided to Bishop James Ligo was incomplete.

While on the subject of decolonization, Bishop Ligo said the next one is the New Caledonia issue. The PCC has passed a resolution to address the issue with the World Council of Churches (WCC) to urge the UN to remind France to keep its promise to the people of New Caledonia and especially the Kanaks for self-determination. "With a membership totaling 8,000, let me confirm that the WCC is a powerful force and the UN listens to its decisions," Bishop Ligo said.

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