Referendum in New Caledonia rejects independence from France

Published: October 5, 2020

The New Caledonia is a French territory located in southwest Pacific Ocean. It is a popular tourist spot and well known for its coral seas.

The territory voted against independence from France under its new referendum that was held recently.

About the Island

The Island was discovered by a British Navigator James Cook in 1774. It was annexed by France in 1853. Later in 1953, all the New Caledonians were granted with French Citizenship regardless of their ethnicity.

Ethnicity of New Caledonia

Around 39.1% of population in the territory belong to the Kanak community. They are the indigenous Melanesians in the territory. Melanesians are indigenous inhabitants of Melanesia. Melanesia is a sub region of Oceania. It extends from New Guinea Island in the south west Pacific Ocean till Tonga and Arafura Sea in the east.

Around 27.2% are Europeans (Zoreille and Caldoche). The other communities that make up New Caledonia are Indonesians, Vietnamese, ethnic Chinese, Futunians and Wallisians.

Resources

New Caledonia holds 10% of world nickel reserves.

Non-Self-Governing Territory of UN

The New Caledonia is one of the seventeen Non-Self-Governing Territories of the United Nations. These are territories where the decolonisation process are not completed. The seventeen Non-Self-Governing Territories listed by the UN are as follows

  • American Samoa
  • Anguilla
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Falkland Islands
  • French Polynesia
  • Gibraltar
  • Guam
  • Montserrat
  • New Caledonia
  • Pitcairn
  • Saint Helena
  • Tokelau
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • United States Virgin Islands
  • Western Sahara

What is the issue in the region?

The country New Caledonia has divisions between the Europeans and Kanak population. The indigenous Kanaks are favouring independence. On the other hand, the Europeans in the territory are against it.

Peace Accords

In 1988, Matignon Accord was signed according to which a self-determination referendum was to be held after ten year period.

In 1998, Noumea Accord was signed under which three referendums of independence were allowed. The latest one is the last of the three.

 

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