The future and sovereignty of the people of Ma’ohi Nui/French Polynesia and their natural resources remains a concern as Pacific churches continue to push for the decolonisation process.
The President of the Association Union Chretienne des Jeunes Gens, Tiare-Maohi Tairua, says: “We remain optimistic that a genuine process of implementation of these mandates will be enacted with the renewed energy and political will to advance our territory to the full measure of self-government with equal rights and justice,” says Mr Tairua.
France possess the second largest Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) in the world, covering 11,035, 000 km2, just behind the United States. The EEZ of France covers approximately 8 per cent of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world, whereas the land area of the French Republic is only 0.45 per cent of the earth’s total land area.
Meanwhile Reverend Francois Pihaatae coordinator of Moruroa E Tatou Association says: “France’s continued control over and interference with the islands’ resources works to disenfranchise the people of Ma’ohi-Nui/French Polynesia, violating their fundamental right to self-determination, particularly their right to freely determine their own economic, social, and cultural development,” says Reverend Pihaatae.
Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC), Secretary General, Rev James Bhagwan, says for the second time PCC has supported a member church, the Maohi Protestant Church, to present to the UN’s Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24) to get Ma’ohi Niu/French Polynesia back on the decolonisation list.
In 2013 the UN General Assembly voted to add French Polynesia to its list of territories that should be decolonised, affirming the right of the island’s inhabitants to self-determination and independence but France has refused to engage in a process to deal with those seeking to regain sovereignty.
Reverend Taaroarii Maraea from the Ma’ohi Protestant church is concerned over the process, saying there was no reference of French Polynesia in the draft resolution although it was addressed in the 2019 working paper.
Maraea asks why these developments were not taken seriously by the UN, asking whether there has been pressure from behind to delay the processes.
The President of Ma’ohi Protestant Church said they will continue to monitor how the UN deals with the matter.
“President Emmanual Macron stated that colonialisation is a crime,” he said.
“It’s a crime against humanity. It’s truly barbarous and its part of a past that we need to confront by apologising to those against whom we committed these acts.”
While one year remains until the end of the third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, the Ma’ohi Protestant Church is calling on the committee to ensure continuous updates are provided to the Secretary-General.