03 June 2013

Pacific Churches commend regional effort to re-list French Polynesia by the United Nations

PCC renews call for self-determination in the Pacific

SUVA, Fiji --- Pacific Island countries must be commended for their work which has seen Maohi Nui (French Polynesia) return to the United Nations’ list of territories for re-inscription.

The call came from PCC General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, after the UN announced that Maohi had been returned to the list after a motion supported by Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands and Nauru.

In letters to the heads of the three nations, Rev Pihaatae said self-determination for Pacific territories which remained under colonial rule would be a PCC priority.

“The cries for self-determination of our brothers and sisters in Kanaky (New Caledonia) and West Papua also feature prominently in the resolutions of our recent General Assembly,” Rev Pihaatae said.

“May we join hands in our continuing effort to strive for peace and justice in the Pacific countries which are most in need.”

Maohi is one of three French territories in the Pacific, the other being New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna.

France – with the support of Australia and New Zealand – had blocked moves by Maohi to seek greater autonomy from Paris.

A motion by Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands and Nauru saw Maohi return to the re-inscription list last week.

It is likely that this will open the door to a United Nations-supervised referendum allowing Maohi’s people to decide whether they want greater autonomy, independence or direct rule.

Rev Pihaatae said self-determination meant people could decide their future for themselves.

“The right of the people of Maohi Nui and other non-self governing territories in our region to decide for themselves on their future and do so in a manner that is truly free as equal inheritors of God’s dignity is central to the PCC’s mandate and work programmes,” he said