Solidarity forums for Bougainville

Issue 

Solidarity forums for Bougainville

By Amanda Lawrence

CANBERRA — On April 14, around 45 people attended a public meeting and film showing organised by the Bougainville Freedom Movement. The film graphically detailed the environmental damage done to the Panguna Valley by the giant Australian-owned CRA copper mine.

Villagers were interviewed, speaking about being driven from their land and homes by attacks from PNG troops, and expressing their support for the Bougainville Revolutionary Army.

Moses Havini, Australian spokesperson for the Bougainville Interim Government, stated that PNG Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan was the "chief architect" of the recent instability surrounding the hiring of mercenaries. Havini linked this episode to Chan's previous record of corrupt dealings with big business for personal gain.

Rosemarie Gillespie called for a resolution demanding that the Australian government cease military aid to PNG.

A week earlier, a Resistance forum highlighted the role of the Australian government in the Bougainville crisis. It is uncritical of PNG's human rights violations because of Australian business interests in Bougainville.