New Caledonia Minister: 'We Will Fight for Our Independence'

Mickael Forrest, the Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture in New Caledonia's government and a member of the pro-independence Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS), declared that the indigenous Kanak people will always fight for their independence.

Publication: 28.05.2024 - 12:12
New Caledonia Minister: 'We Will Fight for Our Independence'
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The French government's attempt to include French settlers on New Caledonia's electoral roll, under the guise of "constitutional reform," has sparked backlash among the island's indigenous population.

The reform, which has the potential to impact the voter count and thus the political processes on the island, is being discussed in the French Parliament, 17,000 kilometers away from New Caledonia. In response, pro-independence Kanaks began protests on May 13.

The French government, unwilling to leave the island's independence process to a decision made in Paris, has taken restrictive measures against the local population. Police and gendarmerie units were dispatched to quell incidents, particularly in the capital, Noumea, and other parts of the island.

On May 15, the social media platform TikTok was banned on the island, and a 12-day state of emergency was declared.

According to official French sources, seven people have died, and more than 370 have been detained in New Caledonia.

Christian Tein, a pro-independence Kanak leader, urged his supporters in a social media video to continue resisting the constitutional reform imposed by the French government from 17,000 kilometers away.

Tein highlighted the severe pressure on the Kanak people in the settlements, stating, "We continue to mobilize and maintain all forms of resistance in the neighborhoods."

Mickael Forrest, the Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture, explained to an AA correspondent why the Kanaks oppose this reform.

Forrest described the situation in New Caledonia as a "colonial condition."

He accused France of continuing its centuries-old colonial practices in New Caledonia. "In the past, they implemented these practices in many French colonies, plundering natural resources, dividing people, and creating conditions to maintain colonial influence," Forrest said.

Forrest emphasized the importance of taking action on the ground in New Caledonia to "resist," while also working to bring their struggle to an international level.


Commenting on the French government's desire to pass the constitutional reform through a final parliamentary vote, Forrest pointed out that if the reform is enacted, it would grant voting rights to an additional 25,000 to 35,000 settlers.

He underscored that this would reduce the Kanak people to a minority in their own country, stating, "This means the complete eradication of the Kanak people."

Forrest noted that in recent weeks, France has been discriminating between the local population and those of European descent. "We have condemned the military presence and the practices aimed at killing our youth. In the past, our leaders were mostly killed. However, for the past 15 days to 3 weeks, many young people have been killed cowardly," he said.

Forrest stressed the importance of the Kanaks continuing their resistance to achieve sovereignty, saying, "Our struggle is just and noble, facing a major world power on a small island in the Pacific. For the Melanesian people, we will continue to fight and resist."

Forrest emphasized that the Kanak people are engaging in peaceful actions. "Of course, there have been some disruptions, but this was primarily to show France, the state, and the world that the Kanak people are still standing and alive. As long as a Kanak person is alive, they will fight for their independence," he stated.

He noted that France wants to maintain its presence on the island for economic and especially geopolitical reasons due to its natural resources.