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Asia-Pacific

UN investigates concerns ahead of New Caledonia vote on independence from France

media Nouméa, capital of New Caledonia. DR

A delegation from the United Nations Decolonisation Committee arrived on Thursday in the French pacific territory of New Caledonia, at the request of island’s Independence party.

Roch Wamyan, of the Independence party, has concerns about the list of voters for upcoming elections and wants 6,720 people, whom he considers ineligible to vote, removed from the list.

On election day, scheduled for 11 May, as well as choosing local councillors, voters will decide on the all-important question of independence or not for the island.

The Nouméa Accord, signed with the Paris government in 1998, gave new powers to New Caledonia and its indigenous population, the Kanaks, with the stipulation that a referendum on independence must be held between 2014 and 2018.

New Caledonia politicians who want the island to remain French have called the visit “a farce”, noting that the delegation includes a diplomat from nearby Fidji, where the Prime Minister came to power in a military coup in 2006.

The UN delegation is led by Amadu Koroma of Sierra Leone.
 

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