Tag Archives: Bougainville Freedom Movement

BOUGAINVILLE: Landowner women protesters block mine pact, win court order

Panguna women landowner protesters — mothers from the mining affected areas and the women from Central Bougainville — have demanded the Autonomous Bougainville Government to properly address the Panguna Mine issue. Video: EMTV News

Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Watch | June 18, 2017

Panguna women protesters have blockaded the copper mine to prevent the signing of a memorandum of understanding by the Bougainville government with the company and also won a court injunction.

Justice Kandakasi ordered in the Waigani National Court on Friday that the MOA cannot be signed until further notice.

Philip Miriori, chairman of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Inc., welcomed the restraining order.

He said it was good to see that protection from “unjust deprivation of property” under Section 53 of the Constitution of PNG – and preserved in the Constitution of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (Section 180) as adopted by the Bougainville Constituent Assembly at Buin on 12 November 2004 – was being enforced.

The Bougainville Freedom Movement also congratulated the women of Bougainville and their supporters for stopping the Bougainville government on Friday from signing a new agreement for Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) to reopen the Panguna mine.

The National Court order supporting the Panguna women landowners seeking to block Bougainville Copper Limited. Image: PMC

“The handpicked BCL landowners who were supposed to sign the agreement for the company were brought to a halt, thanks to the road block protest held on Friday,” said BFM’s Vikki John.

The Panguna mine was abandoned by in 1989 after frustration by landowners erupted into a decade-long armed uprising and a push for Bougainville independence from Papua New Guinea.

‘Seven sisters’ roadblock
Loop PNG reports
: “The impenetrable roadblock was led by women chief from the ‘seven sisters’ areas in Central Bougainville.

The mothers, together with their daughters, youths, ex-combatants and Bougainville hardliners, set up the roadblock, which started on Thursday night and lasted throughout Friday. They refused to move for passing vehicles or negotiating team.

“Their message was simple: ‘No BCL, No Mining’.

A woman chief from Guava Village, Maggie Mirau Nombo, and a chief from Arawa and Pirurari, Kavatai Baria, said their land was their ‘Mother’, who provided their everyday needs and no one was allowed to exploit her.

“Chief Maggie, who is a former primary school teacher, said how could those wanting to sign the MOA conduct such an act of injustice?

“She said this would never happen again because they had suffered enough from all the injustice that had been brought on by BCL when it was in operation.

“She said God had heard the cry of the Bougainville women, and justice would prevail:

“As long as I am the Chief from Panguna and Guava Village and owner of my land, BCL is not welcome. This is the company that has killed our sons and daughters. ABG has to stop ignoring the cries of the women and take note that BCL is never allowed to come back to Panguna, and this is final and it is not negotiable,” she said.

“Chief Kavatai also reminded everyone that ‘when God closes a door, no one can open it, and if God opens a door, no one can close it’.

“Panguna Mine was closed by God and if anyone was trying to reopen the mine when it wasn’t God’s timing, then they had better watch out because they were fighting against a big God.

“Because of the strong opposition by the women, youths and Bougainville hardliners, the high-powered ABG delegation, led by President John Momis, returned to Buka on Friday afternoon without signing the MOA.”

The Papua New Guinea 2017 general election is June 24 until July 8.

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New Bougainville vice-president faces BFM criticism over mining policy

raymond-masono-bougainville-680wide

New ABG Vice-President Masono being sworn in by Chief Magistrate Bruce Tasikul while Chief Secretary to ABG Joseph Nobetau looks on. Image: Bougainville News

Asia Pacific Report | 26 February 2017

Raymond Masono has been appointed new Vice-President of Bougainville and has immediately faced criticism from the Bougainville Freedom Movement.

Bougainville News reported Masono was from the Carteret Islands and is a first term MP in the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Member for the Atolls Constituency and Minister for Public Service.

Prior to his entry into politics, Masono had a ‘distinguished career’ in the Bougainville Public Service and held several senior positions, including Acting Chief Administrator, Deputy Chief Administrator Policy and Director for Panguna Negotiations.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude on behalf of the Atolls people for the President’s confidence in appointing me as his new Vice-President,” Masono said at the swearing in.

“I accept this appointment with great humility, for me personally it is a great honour to serve as the Vice-President of one of the founding fathers of this nation and I want to assure the President and the people of Bougainville of my undivided loyalty and continued support to the President and ABG,” Masono said.

However, the Bougainville Freedom Movement (BFM) put out a statement condemning the appointment as not helping Bougainville’s independence from mining companies. It said:

“The young and easily influenced [former] Vice-President Patrick Nisira made it clear in March 2016  that the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) knew that the decision on the future of the mining moratorium on Bougainville was a major concern and ‘that there should be wide public debate on the issues involved’.

‘Don’t have the funds’

“This was reiterated again, as stated by Patrick Nisira in his public leture on 28 April 2016 in Canberra.

“Yet in his next breath, Patrick Nisira advised: “But we don’t have the funds necessary for an extensive public awareness and consultation programme.”

“Now, his replacement, Raymond Masono, Director of the Office of Panguna Negotiations, Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), who originates from the Atolls, gave a lecture at  the University of Queensland’s “Institute for Sustainable Mining” on 16 December 2014.

“Under the influence of the University of Queensland’s “Institute for Sustainable Mining”, Mr Raymond Masono made it quite clear that, “Alternative Benefit Sharing Modality for a Redeveloped Panguna Mine in Bougainville, PNG”.

“Benefits from a redeveloped Panguna mine must contribute to the overall social and economic development of the all Bougainvillians, not just the mine affected landowners.

“This requires the design and implementation of a benefit sharing modality that ensures everyone shares in the nation’s wealth. The Office of Panguna Mine Negotiations has been established to coordinate the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and Panguna mine affected Landowners preparations to negotiate the possible reopening of Panguna Mine in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

“President Momis, it certainly would be better that you represent your people rather than mining companies don’t you think?, asked the BFM.”

Patrick Nisira will remain as the Member of the Halia constituency until he formally resigns from the Bougainville House of Representatives to contest this year’s general election.

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New Ireland chiefs welcome Kauona reconciliation

Former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander Sam Kauona ... reconciliation praised and condemned

Former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander Sam Kauona … reconciliation praised and condemned

Pacific Media Centre | November 23, 2016

The combined New Ireland chiefs in Papua New Guinea led by chief Demas Kavavu and political leaders including former National Alliance strongman, Pedi Anis, have welcomed the invitation for reconciliation from the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) commander, Sam Kauona, and his people of the Central Bougainville region with the former Prime Minister and now Governor of New Ireland, Sir Julius Chan.

But the move has been strongly criticised by the Bougainville Freedom Movement.

The chiefs rallied behind the Governor, Sir Julius, to support what they term as a courageous step for peace from the BRA Commander with the authority and authenticity being the first to meet with Sir Julius within three days of him assuming the Prime Ministership of Papua New Guinea in 1994 in Honiara during the height of the Bougainville conflict.

The late Bishop Gregory Singkai was with Sir Julius that made possible the face to face human dialogue between Sir Julius and Kauona, whom Sir Julius described as courteous and very respectful in the face of great adversity.

Kauona in a news release in The National newspaper last Thursday broke his long silence as a prominent figure in the 16 year-long Bougainville conflict and declared his political allegiance to the People’s Progress Party and its founder Sir Julius.

He cited his involvement in brokering peace talks that culminated in the moving reconciliation ceremony in Kavieng between the late President Joseph Kabui on behalf of the people of Bougainville and Sir Julius on behalf of New Ireland.

Kauona said Sir Julius showed the way to address issues and although he participated in reconciliations in Buka and Kavieng he and the PPP should reconcile with the people of Central Bougainville because it was the nerve centre of the conflict.

New Ireland held Peace and Reconciliation consultation with President Joseph Kabui and was the only Province that sent an official government delegation to attend Kabui’s funeral and later reciprocated with the second Peace and Reconciliation with the Acting President, James Tanis, in Buka.

Responding to Kauona’s press release, Governor Sir Julius said from his home in Huris that he had kept close and friendly ties with the people of Bougainville through their President John Momis.

He was very encouraged by Kauona’s comments and awaited the opportunity to strengthen friendship with him and people of Central Bougainville.

“I have no qualms, no grudges, no ill-will against anyone in Bougainville as we are partly one heritage, one genesis and I thank Kauona for his straight talk and welcome him to visit and strengthen ties with New Ireland,” said Sir Julius.

“We need to eradicate all misunderstanding to hand a peaceful solid baton to the young generation for our two Provinces,” he said.

The Bougainville Freedom Movement said in a statement:

“Considering that Sir Julius Chan says he has no regrets over his handling of the Sandline mercenary affair, to kill, maim and murder the people of Bougainville, it is very difficult to understand why the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) Commander, Sam Kauona has declared his political allegiance to the People’s Progress Party and its founder Sir Julius Chan.

“The power of the people in Papua New Guinea (PNG), prompted Jerry Singirok, the General of the PNG Defence Forces to stop the hired killers of Sandline mercenaries by taking them hostage in 1997. This is what stopped the war on Bougainville and allowed peace to prevail.

“It also led to the downfall of Sir Julius Chan and his government.

“This year in March 2016, Sir Julius Chan released his autobiography and still says that if he had been allowed to continue with the Sandline mercenary operation to put down the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) and the people of Bougainville in 1997, he would have been able to bring the island of Bougainville under control.

“So now in November 2016, it seems Sir Julius Chan has the General Commander of the BRA under control, like a wish come true.”

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