[61] Parliament, then I imagine China would be very quick to offer its support in many ways, with aid, trade and investment,” said Mr. Pryke. Voting in the Pacific island of Bougainville's referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea (PNG) will be held between Nov. 23 and Dec. 7, the referendum commission said. Members of the Bougainville Women's Federation cheering Wednesday after hearing that voters in a referendum overwhelmingly supported independence from Papua New Guinea. We had many of the key players come and stay with us in Brisbane," she told the ABC's Pacific Beat program earlier this month. “Now with such a phenomenal majority, it’s much harder for them to do that,” he added. This long-awaited referendum was at the heart of the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement, which marked the official end to a bloody civil war that lasted from 1988 to 1997. Violence shut down the mine in 1989 and a nine-year war claimed the lives of 20,000 people. The Bougainville civil war raged for a decade after indigenous landowners, incensed by environmental devastation and inequities associated with the Rio Tinto majority-owned Panguna copper mine, waged an armed campaign to shut the mine down. Central to the conflict that led to the vote was Bougainville's rich resources. government in a pretty hard position,” said Jonathan Pryke, director of the Pacific Islands program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney. Follow our live coverage from day one of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, By PNG correspondent Natalie Whiting in Bougainville and Pacific Beat staff. In May 1990, Papua New Guinea imposed a blockade on Bougainville. Like many Bougainvilleans, I am relieved that the referendum has concluded, that we have honoured the memories of those lost to the conflict, and that we can now move forward in negotiating a lasting political settlement. The deputy speaker of Bougainville's Parliament, Francesca Semoso, said she was emotional when she cast her vote last month. Countries like Australia and New Zealand will also now find themselves squeezed — likely facing pleas for assistance from Bougainville to develop its institutions, and resistance from Papua New Guinea, which has never been eager to give up Bougainville’s bounty. Follow our live coverage for the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic. The results were met with celebration in Bougainville, where the results were announced in the city of Buka. [8] PNGDF casualties during the fighting were believed to include more than 300 killed. The autonomous region was once home to the world's largest open-cut copper mine at Panguna, which provided up to 45 per cent of PNG's export profits. Francis Onaresponded by unilaterally declaring independence. Excited voters gathered in Buka to hear the results — and they cheered when the sheer scale of the victory became apparent. Bougainville has voted overwhelmingly to seek independence from Papua New Guinea, with more than 97 per cent in favour of autonomy. The nearly unanimous results exceeded what regional analysts had expected and could accelerate the independence movement, complicating diplomatic relations across the region. The referendum was a result of a 2001 agreement between the government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government that ended a civil war fought from 1988 to 1998. Bougainville Revolutionary Army leader Francis Ona, barefoot and wearing a bush hat, in 1994 during the decade-long civil war in the archipelago. Tensions continued, and the subsequent Bougainville Civil War (1988–1998) resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, as the Bougainville Revolutionary Army sought to secure independence and was resisted by the Papua New Guinea Defence Force. Assisted by moderate leaders on all sides, Bougainville’s burgeoning civil society was able to slowly develop a framework for peace. “The P.N.G. Death, even among neighbours, can mean very little. A number of raskol (criminal) gangs that were affiliated with the BRA, equipped largely with weapons salv… That will be our firm position". Decades after the region's bloody civil conflict, the people of Bougainville will today start casting their votes in a referendum on whether they should seek independence from Papua New Guinea. The young men have to spend an extended period in isolation in the bush, where they learn traditional practices and are forbidden to be seen by women. Bougainville Island (Tok Pisin: Bogenvil) is the main island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville of Papua New Guinea.It formed the main landmass of the German Empire-associated North Solomons.Its land measures 9,300 km 2 (3,600 sq mi). The scheduled two weeks of voting ended earlier than expected, with many Bougainvilleans casting their vote just days after polling stations opened. government has squandered its opportunity,” said Wesley Morgan, a fellow at Griffith University’s Asia Institute in Queensland, Australia. "We've lost people that have worked so hard. But Papua New Guinea ignored that push, and over the ensuing decades, tensions simmered and then exploded. The Bougainville Peace Agreement In a referendum linked to a peace agreement that ended a civil war between separatists and Papua New Guinea security forces nearly 20 years ago, nearly 98 percent of … Voting was also made available to Bougainvilleans working on mine sites around PNG and those working in Australia and Solomon Islands. But little tax revenue seemed to make it back to Bougainville. The referendum also responds to more historical ambitions by many Bougainvilleans to be independent. Bougainville Referendum Commission chair Bertie Ahern said on Tuesday the vote was conducted "in an environment that was conducive to a free, fair and credible process". The population of the province is approximately 300,000 (2019 census), which includes islets such as the Carterets. CANBERRA, Australia, Sep 29 2020 (IPS) - Ishmael Toroama, a former revolutionary leader and fighter during the decade long civil war which engulfed the remote islands of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the 1990s, has been elected the autonomous region’s new President ahead of high-level talks about its political future. Fighting between the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) and PNG government forces developed into a full-blown civil war, which saw an estimated 20,000 … In a referendum linked to a peace agreement that ended a civil war between separatists and Papua New Guinea security forces nearly 20 years ago, nearly 98 percent of those who voted supported becoming an independent nation. "I was a little girl as this was being talked about. The war has been described as the largest conflict in Oceania since the end of World War II, with an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Bougainvillean dead. However, the referendum result is not binding. Special arrangements were made to allow upes — boys and young men undertaking their coming of age initiations — to vote in Bougainville's historic referendum. Negotiations between PNG and Bougainville about the road forward will now begin and could continue for years, and the PNG Parliament will have the final say. The referendum is an important step in the peace process between groups on Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, following the bloody Bougainville Civil War. SYDNEY, Australia — The region of Bougainville, a collection of islands in the South Pacific, has voted overwhelmingly to become independent from Papua New Guinea, aiming to become the world’s newest nation. The referendum was a key part of a 2001 peace agreement that ended a civil war in which at least 15,000 people died in the cluster of islands to the … The Bougainville Peace Agreement granted the region more autonomy, and those who opposed secession hoped the pact’s lengthy timeline — allowing for a nonbinding referendum on independence within 20 years — would also prompt Papua New Guinea’s government to develop an equitable revenue-sharing deal for the mine, along with other services that might build loyalty to the central government. Polling for Bougainville's independence referendum gets underway today. At the time, the Panguna open cut mine was the largest in the world. The poll was a key part of a nearly 20-year-old peace agreement, which brought an end to a bloody civil war in the region. The nearly unanimous results in the Pacific islands chain exceeded expectations and could both accelerate independence and complicate relations across the region. He set up the Bougainville Interim Government (BIG), but it had little power, and the island began to descend into disarray. The mine has remained closed despite controversial attempts to reopen it in recent years. The general election was the first since Bougainville voted overwhelmingly for ... of little economic progress after a decade-long civil war that claimed as many as 20,000 lives. The referendum holds huge emotional significance for many Bougainvilleans. At the time, Bougainville’s Panguna mine provided nearly half the entire country’s export income through gold and copper mining. Conflict over the Panguna mine became the primary trigger for the Bougainville Civil War (1988–1998), which resulted in the deaths of up to 20,000 people. Out of 181,067 ballots, 176,928 votes were cast for independence. While the vote is non-binding, there are indications from PNG that Bougainville may be granted its independence if it can demonstrate economic self-sufficiency (as indicated by the PNG Prime Minister, James Marape), although PNG wants to maintain a national ‘unity’, so most likely won’t give … That 10-year conflict, which raged from 1988 until 1998, saw the deaths of up to 20,000 people, or around 10 per cent of Bougainville's population at that time. The mine br… The poll was a key part of a nearly 20-year-old peace agreement, which brought an end to a bloody civil war in the region. Photograph: … The results are astonishing: 98.3 percent voted for independence (1.7 percent voted for more autonomy). An anti-war movement evolved on Bougainville during the mid-1990s, spearheaded by womens’ groups, NGOs, and the church. Region to declare independence, or 10 % of the Bougainville Women 's Federation cheering Wednesday hearing... 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