The discovery of vast copper ore deposits in Bougainville's Crown Prince Range in 1969 led to the establishment of a huge copper mine by the Australian company Conzinc Rio Tinto. 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 population of the province is approximately 300,000 (2019 census), which includes islets such as the Carterets. To ensure everyone enrolled had a chance to vote, referendum officials visited people in hospitals and police cells. What and where is Bougainville? Polling for Bougainville's independence referendum gets underway today. Bougainville Revolutionary Army leader Francis Ona, barefoot and wearing a bush hat, in 1994 during the decade-long civil war in the archipelago. At the time, the Panguna open cut mine was the largest in the world. 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. "It's been a long time coming," she told the ABC. The vote is non-binding and the government of Papua New Guinea has the final say on what becomes of Bougainville. The historic referendum was carried out over a two-week period, with people asked if they wanted independence or greater autonomy from Papua New Guinea. The conflict was described by Bougainvillean President John Momis as the largest conflict in Oceania since the end of World War IIin 1945, with an estimated 15,000–20,000 Bougai… Assisted by moderate leaders on all sides, Bougainville’s burgeoning civil society was able to slowly develop a framework for peace. 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. 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 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. “Now with such a phenomenal majority, it’s much harder for them to do that,” he added. Members of the Bougainville Women's Federation cheering Wednesday after hearing that voters in a referendum overwhelmingly supported independence from Papua New Guinea. 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This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced. The mine began production in 1972 under the management of Bougainville Copper Ltd, with Papua New Guinea as a 20% shareholder. 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. 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 autonomous Papua New Guinea region's non-binding referendum is the ultimate provision of 2001's Peace Agreement which formally ended hostilities in Bougainville's civil war. That is like a quarter of a million New Zealanders dying in a civil war that lasted almost twice as long as World War Two. That process could take several years, and PNG's Minister for Bougainville, Sir Puka Temu, said his Government was firm in its desire to hold on to the island. 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. 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. government in a pretty hard position,” said Jonathan Pryke, director of the Pacific Islands program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney. Up to 20,000 people, or 10% of the population at the time, lost their lives. At the time, Bougainville’s Panguna mine provided nearly half the entire country’s export income through gold and copper mining. But Papua New Guinea ignored that push, and over the ensuing decades, tensions simmered and then exploded. Despite the outcome of the vote, the future of Bougainville is still uncertain. "We've lost people that have worked so hard. “It puts the P.N.G. [8] PNGDF casualties during the fighting were believed to include more than 300 killed. 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 … Later this year the island will vote in a referendum on greater autonomy or independence from PNG. Serahphina Aupong/United Nations in Papua New Guinea, via Associated Press. About 85 per cent of eligible voters cast more than 181,000 ballots in two weeks of voting. Bougainville Civil War also known as Bougainville Conflict was a conflict that was fought from 1988 to 1998 in which autonomous region of Papua New Guineaball, Bougainvilleball on a failed attempt to be an independent country. The brutal murder mystery haunting the island of Bougainville, Bougainville may become the world's newest nation — here's what you need to know, 'A lot of hatred, a lot of pain': Bougainville survivors find hope with historic referendum. Central to the conflict that led to the vote was Bougainville's rich resources. Up to 20,000 people, or about 10 per cent of Bougainville's population, died during the Bougainville Civil War, fought from 1988 to 1998. Observers have said that the clear result makes it difficult for Papua New Guinea to … 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. Violence shut down the mine in 1989 and a nine-year war claimed the lives of 20,000 people. 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). For Bougainville — an area with huge mineral wealth and 250,000 people — the vote also makes it much harder for Papua New Guinea to move slowly through the consultation period required under the 2001 peace agreement that provided a pathway to independence. The results are astonishing: 98.3 percent voted for independence (1.7 percent voted for more autonomy). “I can imagine they’d be very proactive.”, Bougainville Votes for Independence From Papua New Guinea. Out of a population of 160,000, as many as 10,000 died as a result of the blockade, or were shot—three times the number killed during the troubles in Northern Ireland. government has squandered its opportunity,” said Wesley Morgan, a fellow at Griffith University’s Asia Institute in Queensland, Australia. “The P.N.G. PNG and Bougainville are now expected to hold negotiations and present an option for the PNG Parliament to vote on. It is the culmination of decades of work towards peace and reconciliation. 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. Photograph: … In May 1990, Papua New Guinea imposed a blockade on Bougainville. The Bougainville Civil War, also known as the Bougainville Conflict, was an armed conflict fought from 1988 to 1998 between Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), who were fighting for independence. The mine br… Lockdown inspires mum's once-in-a-lifetime road trip, Aida's mum fled war to Australia. Up to 20,000 people, or about 10 per cent of Bougainville's population, died during the Bougainville Civil War, fought from 1988 to 1998. That will be our firm position". Ever wondered why we call today Boxing Day? An anti-war movement evolved on Bougainville during the mid-1990s, spearheaded by womens’ groups, NGOs, and the church. The civil war that subsequently broke out between the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, Papua New Guinean forces and other pro-PNG militias in Bougainville saw the mine shut down in 1989. Voting was also made available to Bougainvilleans working on mine sites around PNG and those working in Australia and Solomon Islands. All or most of the voting was closely watched by several groups of observers, including a team of 11 sent by the Australian Government and led by the former Australian MP Jane Prentice, who has her own very personal connection to the region. 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. The Bougainville Civil War is considered the largest conflict to have occurred in Oceania since World War Two. 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 … A number of raskol (criminal) gangs that were affiliated with the BRA, equipped largely with weapons salv… 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. 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. "We don't want any part of Papua New Guinea to break away," Sir Puka told Pacific Beat last month. Its economic grievances led the region to declare independence, or try to, in 1975. Bougainville has voted overwhelmingly to seek independence from Papua New Guinea, with more than 97 per cent in favour of autonomy. 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 … She never expected to be in a similar situation, Queen Elizabeth II calls for 'spirit of selflessness' in Christmas message, This is what we know about the next steps in Malka Leifer's extradition, The rare allergy that turned me into a vegetarian, New South Wales issues COVID-19 alert for flight passengers and multiple Sydney bus routes, 'Disgraceful': UK's Channel 4 criticised for airing deepfake of Queen's Christmas message, 'Ugly place to be': Greg Norman spends Christmas Day in hospital with COVID-19, Two men charged with aggravated robbery in Adelaide during early hours of Boxing Day, Teen killed in Christmas crash, but police say motorbike removed from scene before they arrived. Fighting between the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) and PNG government forces developed into a full-blown civil war, which saw an estimated 20,000 … 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 command structure set up by the BRA seldom had any real control over the various groups throughout the island that claimed to be part of the BRA. 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. "I was a little girl as this was being talked about. The political structure of Bougainville as an autonomous region within Papua New Guinea reflects the important need, following the civil war, for parliamentary representation of different interest groups. “If there were to be a smaller majority, say 55 or 65 percent, the P.N.G. "We don't want to set a precedent for the other 21 provinces. 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. 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. Excited voters gathered in Buka to hear the results — and they cheered when the sheer scale of the victory became apparent. The mine has remained closed despite controversial attempts to reopen it in recent years. It provided over 45% of Papua New Guinea's national export revenue and was incredibly important to the economy. 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. The relationship between Bougainville and Papua New Guinea was never good, and, in the late 1980s, environmental and economic concerns related to the mining industry on the island led to a revolt by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army against the national government of Papua New Guinea. Parliament, then I imagine China would be very quick to offer its support in many ways, with aid, trade and investment,” said Mr. Pryke. The Bougainville Peace Agreement The referendum also responds to more historical ambitions by many Bougainvilleans to be independent. A ten-year civil war was the result. That war saw the secessionist Bougainville Revolutionary Army … “If the process plays out to a point where Bougainville is ceded its independence by the P.N.G. Now, Bougainville has the potential to become the world’s newest nation, defining its own destiny and opening itself up to diplomatic and economic partnerships with nations that have shown increased interest in the Pacific as of late — including the United States and China. "My husband was involved in the peace arrangements and the conflict resolution. He set up the Bougainville Interim Government (BIG), but it had little power, and the island began to descend into disarray. Follow our live coverage for the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic. Special arrangements were made to allow upes — boys and young men undertaking their coming of age initiations — to vote in Bougainville's historic referendum. government could have found a way to justify really stretching this out and having a period of negotiation that could last years or decades. The referendum is an important step in the peace process between groups on Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, following the bloody Bougainville Civil War. 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. Out of 181,067 ballots, 176,928 votes were cast for independence. The Bougainville conflict, also known as the Bougainville Civil War, was a multi-layered armed conflict fought from 1988 to 1998 in the North Solomons Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG) between PNG and the secessionist forces of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), and between the BRA and other armed groups on Bougainville. 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. "To see them back in their own village, to meet them and be part of what they see as the next step in their future was incredibly special.". #Bougainville. That special status was granted to the islands during negotiations that followed a bloody, decade-long civil war. The war has been described by John Momis, President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, as the largest conflict in Oceania since the end of World War II. 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. 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 autonomous region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is entering a new phase in its quest for peace, almost 20 years after a peace agreement ended a 10-year civil war. 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. Over the years of fighting, different armed factions emerged, including the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and the Bougainville Resistance Forces. "For me personally, it's my father who's always been a strong supporter of peace … and supporter of making sure everyone in the community were able to have a voice.". In 1997, negotiations mediated by New Zealand began between the PNG government and secessionist leaders. The referendum holds huge emotional significance for many Bougainvilleans. A large proportion of the population was displaced and up to 20,000 people died as a result of the conflict. [61] Bougainville remains part of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and has four elected representatives in the PNG national parliament. But little tax revenue seemed to make it back to Bougainville. Death, even among neighbours, can mean very little. The scheduled two weeks of voting ended earlier than expected, with many Bougainvilleans casting their vote just days after polling stations opened. NSW recorded nine COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, including eight linked to the Avalon cluster, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says Greater Sydney will now revert to pre-Christmas restrictions, She also announced minor changes to pre-Christmas restrictions in the northern beaches. The results were met with celebration in Bougainville, where the results were announced in the city of Buka. CANBERRA, Australia, Sep 29 (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. With such a resounding vote for self-determination, Bougainville has become a visible inspiration for other independence movements in the Pacific, from West Papua, which is seeking to secede from Indonesia, to New Caledonia, which will hold a referendum next year about possibly breaking away from France. The nearly unanimous results in the Pacific islands chain exceeded expectations and could both accelerate independence and complicate relations across the region. The islands have struggled against Papua New Guinea’s rule since the 1970s. Francis Onaresponded by unilaterally declaring independence. However, the referendum result is not binding. A peace agreement resulted in the creation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government. The nearly unanimous results exceeded what regional analysts had expected and could accelerate the independence movement, complicating diplomatic relations across the region. 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