Bougainville remembers crisis

Main Stories

THE Autonomous Region of Bougainville observed the Bougainville Remembrance Day on Friday, a public holiday to remember the lives lost during the island’s 10-year conflict.
On May 17, 1990, the late Bougainville secessionist leader Francis Ona, who led the Revolution Army in an uprising against the Government, declared a Unilateral Declaration of Independence for Bougainville.
When the Bougainville Peace Agreement was signed on Aug 30, 2001, May 17 was declared the remembrance day.
More than 15,000 lives were lost including the closure of the world’s biggest open-cut mine at Panguna, the copper mine was then the backbone of the national economy.
The Bougainville government said in a statement last Friday: “Today, we commemorate that journey and acknowledge all efforts and unwavering support of those who have gone before us, those who have laid the foundations of this very journey that we continue to walk today.
“We also remember our men who fought bravely, our women who stood courageously and our children who endured what is known to many as the bloodiest conflict in the Pacific region.
“We remember the 15,000-plus lives lost.
“Now 17 years after the peace agreement was signed, Bougainville has continued to maintain, uphold and protect the fragile peace that we have worked so hard to establish.
“It demonstrates a strong and united commitment of all Bougainvilleans to walk together in this process, from war to peace by peaceful means.
“We continue to stand united in peace. We continue to respect rule of law. We continue to fight corruption and welcome good governance.”