Autonomous Region of Bougainville

Keys issues to be discussed in JSB

Following a first of its kind Joint Ministerial Dialogue between key ABG Ministers and their national government counterparts in Port Moresby early this month, progress has been made to ensure there is meaningful discussion and a more successful outcome at the upcoming special JSB.

ABG Minister for Peace Agreement Implementation, Albert Punghau, described the meetings with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Attorney General and the Minister for Bougainville Affairs, as fruitful.

Momis disappointed with statement

Chief Momis had to verify claims by a former member of parliament, Daniel Tulapi, about the constitutionality of the Bougainville Referendum.

Momis in a statement said it is disturbing that at the eleventh hour, after nearly 20 years since the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement by the National Government, a former National Government minister is now making absurd claims that the referendum is somehow unconstitutional.

Momis pleased with progress

His view follows the recent Joint Supervisory Body meeting held in Arawa. 

The meeting addressed concerns on funding, appointments of the Bougainville Referendum Commission including weapons disposal.

An agreed funding of K1.2 million that has been made available by both governments to kick start BRC operations will assist this exercise to happen immediately.

The BRC will be working closely with Village Ward Recorders with a goal of having a grassroots check on the accuracy of the roll.

Referendum: Criteria for non-B’ville residents

They have agreed on the criteria for non-Bougainville residents to take part in the Referendum.  

In the recent JSB meeting held in Arawa, both the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, under section 55, 1 of the Organic Law on Peace Building in Bougainville, agreed on two criteria to determine the links with Bougainville, that a non-resident Bougainvillean must have in order to vote at the Referendum.

The first criteria is that; the person is a Bougainvillean, as defined in section 7, 1 of the Bougainville Constitution.

Gardens, land lost

The Islanders are facing serious food shortage and are in dire need of assistance.

The plight of Nuguria Islanders is similar to the volcano and earthquake affected provinces.

However, their cries and needs have gone unheard.

The Islanders sadly do not have the backing of the Government of PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Yesterday (May 6), the Nuguria community based in Port Moresby hosted a fundraiser for the plight of more than 600 affected Nuguria Islanders.

Women defenders, male advocates

These women and men raise awareness and respond to family and sexual violence and gender inequality.

Assessments of the project have revealed that women human rights defenders play many roles; they are educators, defenders, advocates and activists.

A valuable lesson learned from the project is that when male advocates work alongside women’s human rights defenders, it gives women an opportunity to work closely with male traditional leaders and in turn, change traditional norms around the role of women in leadership positions.

Chair proposed for Referendum Commission

He is former Prime Minister of Ireland, Bertie Ahern. Although this was made known by President John Momis during a recent parliamentary sitting with his government, a formal joint announcement is yet to be made by both governments.

A reliable source within the ABG told Loop PNG that “President Momis and PM O'Neill have written a joint letter to the former PM of Ireland as a nominee for the position of Chair of the Bougainville Referendum Commission”.

Challenges in unifying women of B’ville

However, challenges still remain with regard to unifying the women of Bougainville; having them take a seat at the same table to further the common goal of maintaining peace by peaceful means.

In August 2017 an historic conference took place that saw women from North, Central and South Bougainville come together to highlight the significant role, both in times past and at present, women play in both building peace and fostering social cohesion in the region.

EPF finds footing in ARoB

EPF’s CEO Jacqui Joseph, in praising the effort of staff and volunteers, said the organisation has had more than a learning experience but also an opportunity to embrace the challenges that the environment has created for EPF to find the best way to work. 

“2017 was a good challenge for us as an organization, especially in the autonomous region,” said Joseph.

New library, world of opportunities

Nicole Smith, second secretary - Bougainville Program Australian High Commission, handed over the keys for the new library to Kepesia school principal, Marvin Naru, and four other principals of the schools that received a new library. These schools include Kepesia, Kavaranou, Kekesu, Mungkala and Sipuru Primary School. 

Ms. Smith said Bougainville remains a development priority for Australia with education one of the important sectors.