France Plotting To Thwart Self-Determination Of New Caledonia – Activist

France Plotting To Thwart Self-Determination Of New Caledonia – Activist

A Nigeria activist, Mohammed Abiodun, has decried the move by the French government to deny the indigenous population of New Caledonia their right to self-determination.

He said in a statement that the deadly riots that swept over the New Caledonian capital of Nouméa this week ahead of a proposed electoral reform vote in France’s lower house of parliament, was a show against French Neo-Colonialism.

Abiodun said, “The alleged purpose of the so-called reforms is to enlarge the electorate for New Caledonia’s provincial elections. But in reality, the move only entrenches French influence in its former colony and denies the indigenous population their right to self-determination.

“Under the terms of the 1998 Nouméa Accord, which laid out a roadmap for greater autonomy for the island country, only New Caledonia natives and long-term residents have been eligible to vote in provincial elections and local referendums to preserve the balance between the indigenous Kanak population and new arrivals from mainland France. The proposed reforms threaten to upend this and are a clear example of how Paris continues to pursue a neo-colonial agenda in its so-called overseas territories,” Abiodun said.

He warned that the French government wanted to divert attention from the main issue so that it will not address the significant influence that Paris continues to wield over the territory’s political and economic systems.

The activist added, “It also masks the fact that France’s citizens feel shamed by this blatant neo-colonialism, with protests in Paris featuring the Kanak independence flag. We need to draw more attention to these realities and avoid being fooled by France’s diversionary tactics.”

He called on the international community to remain focused on what is going on in the territory and urged them to go a step further and provide support for New Caledonia’s quest for self-determination and to address the persistent socio-economic disparities rooted in colonial history.

“The Kanak people are the indigenous inhabitants of New Caledonia and they have faced systemic discrimination and marginalization ever since the country was annexed by France in 1853. The economic benefits of the island’s rich natural resources, particularly nickel, have been largely monopolized by the French and multinational corporations.

“According to Politico, this tiny island country contains around 30 percent of the world’s nickel reserves. Nickel is an essential material in making stainless steel as well as batteries for use in electric vehicles. New Caledonia should be far more prosperous than it is, yet the Kanak population continues to suffer through the lingering effects of colonialism. “The indigenous Kanaks are disproportionately affected by poverty compared to the European-descendant Caldoche community. They face higher unemployment rates and limited access to education and job opportunities. Many Kanaks live in substandard housing and face poor living conditions.”

On the inequality in the territory, he said, “There is significant income inequality, with wealth concentrated in urban areas and among non-indigenous populations. Educational attainment is also lower among the Kanak population, which contributes to ongoing economic disparities.

“What cannot be denied is that the parasitic and extraction practices of the French have fanned the flames of social tension. This is the lifeblood that surges through the veins of the independence movement on the island. The push for independence in New Caledonia is driven by a desire to rectify historical injustices and to achieve political and economic self-determination.

“This is the core reason why the Kanak-led independence movement has gained momentum, particularly among younger generations who see independence as a path towards greater social and economic equality.

“Pinning everything on foreign interference denies the Kanak people their agency and is just another example of how a colonial mindset persists in modern-day France.  The real foreign interference in New Caledonia comes from a cynical manipulation of the rules by neo-colonial Parisians.”


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