The Bougainville Referendum: from holy war to renewal?

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Between November 23 and December 7, 2019, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB), a small group of islands in the Southern Pacific, overwhelmingly voted for full independence from Papua New Guinea. The referendum is part of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, which was achieved after a long and arduous process to end a decade of conflict and civil unrest between 1988 and 1998. The main goals of the 2001 peace agreement were disarmament, the establishment of an Autonomous Bougainville Government, which occurred in 2005, and a referendum on the region’s future political status. During last year’s referendum, some 180,000 voters—more than 85 percent of the registered population — responded to the question: “Do you agree for Bougainville to have Greater Autonomy or Independence?” Independence saw support from 98.31 percent of voters.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationGeorgetown journal of international affairs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2020


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