Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies
(Territorial Collectivity of France)
Joined United Nations: 24 October 1945
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 15 September 2012
260,166 (July 2012 est.)
President of France since 15 May 2012
French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term;
high commissioner appointed by the French president on the
advice of the French Ministry of Interior;
last held on 22 April and 6 May 2012
Next scheduled election: Spring 2017
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
President of the Government elected by the members of the
Territorial Congress for a five-year term (no term limits);
election last held 10 May 2009
note - since 3 March 2011, three different governments of
Harold Martin have collapsed over the choice of a flag
that will be used while it is being decolonized; President
Martin is head of a caretaker government
Next election: 2014
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Melanesian 44.1%, European 34.1%, Wallisian & Futunian 9%, Tahitian 2.6%, Indonesian 2.5%, Vietnamese 1.4%,
Ni-Vanuatu 1.1%, other 5.2% (1996 census)
Roman Catholic 60%, Protestant 30%, other 10%
Territorial Collectivity of France since 1998 with 3 second-order provinces . Legal system is based on the 1988
Matignon Accords which grant substantial autonomy to the islands; formerly under French law
Executive: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; high commissioner appointed by the
French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the government elected by the
members of the Territorial Congress for a five-year term (no term limits); note - since 3 March 2011, three different
governments of Harold Martin have collapsed over the choice of a flag that will be used while it is being decolonized;
President Martin is head of a caretaker government
Legislative: Unicameral Territorial Congress or Congres Territorial (54 seats; members belong to the three
Provincial Assemblies or Assemblees Provinciales elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 10 May 2009 (next to be held 2014)
Judicial: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; County Courts; Joint Commerce Tribunal Court; Children's Court
French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects
The western Pacific was first populated about 50,000 years ago. The Austronesians moved into the area later. The
diverse group of people that settled over the Melanesian archipelagos are known as the Lapita. They arrived in the
archipelago now commonly known as New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands around 1500 BC. The Lapita were
highly skilled navigators and agriculturists with influence over a large area of the Pacific. From about the 11th century
Polynesians also arrived and mixed with the populations of the archipelago. Europeans first sighted New Caledonia and
the Loyalty Islands in the late 18th century. The British explorer James Cook sighted Grande Terre in 1774 and named
it New Caledonia. Caledonia being the Latin name for Scotland. During the same voyage he also named the islands to
the North of New Caledonia the New Hebrides. British and North American whalers and sandalwood traders became
interested in New Caledonia and tensions developed as their approach became increasingly dishonest (an arrogant
attitude and cheating became commonplace). Europeans used alcohol and tobacco amongst other things to barter for
commodities. Contact with Europeans brought new diseases such as smallpox, measles, dysentery, influenza, syphilis
and leprosy. Many people died as a result of these diseases. Tensions developed into hostilities and in 1849 the crew
of the Cutter were killed and eaten by the Pouma clan. As trade in sandalwood declined it was replaced by a new form
of trade. Blackbirding involved enslaving people from New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New
Guinea and the Solomon Islands to work in sugar cane plantations in Fiji and Queensland. The trade ceased at the start
of the 20th century. Catholic and Protestant missionaries first arrived in the nineteenth century. They had a profound
effect on indigenous culture. They insisted people should wear clothes to cover themselves. They eradicated many local
practices and traditions. The island was made a French possession in 1853 in an attempt by Napoleon III to rival the
British colonies in Australia and New Zealand. Following the example set by the British in nearby Australia, between
1854 and 1922 France sent a total of 22,000 convicted felons to penal colonies along the south-west coast of the
island; this number includes regular criminals as well as political prisoners such as Parisian socialists and Kabyle
nationalists. Towards the end of the penal colony era, free European settlers (including former convicts) and Asian
contract workers by far out-numbered the population of forced workers. The indigenous Kanak populations declined
drastically in that same period due to introduced diseases and an apartheid-like system called Code de l'Indigénat
which imposed severe restrictions on their livelihood, freedom of movement and land ownership. New Caledonia has
been on a United Nations list of non-self-governing territories since 1986. This list includes such places as the American
Samoa, the British Falkland Islands or the New Zealand territory of Tokelau, but noticeably it does not include places
like Tibet or West Papua, which has led to its reputation as a politically biased list. Agitation by the Front de Libération
Nationale Kanak Socialiste (FLNKS) for independence began in 1985. The FLNKS (led by the late Jean-Marie
Tjibaou, assassinated in 1989) advocated the creation of an independent state of 'Kanaky'. The troubles culminated in
1988 with a bloody hostage taking in Ouvéa. The unrest led to agreement on increased autonomy in the Matignon
Accords of 1988 and the Nouméa Accord of 1998. This Accord describes the devolution process as "irreversible" and
also provides for a local Caledonian citizenship, separate official symbols of Caledonian identity (such as a "national"
flag), as well as mandating a referendum on the contentious issue of independence from the French Republic sometime
Sources: Wikipedia: History of New Caledonia
New Caledonia has about 25% of the world's known nickel resources. Only a small amount of the land is suitable for
cultivation, and food accounts for about 20% of imports. In addition to nickel, substantial financial support from France
- equal to more than 15% of GDP - and tourism are keys to the health of the economy. Substantial new investment in
the nickel industry, combined with the recovery of global nickel prices, brightens the economic outlook for the next
Source: CIA World Factbook (Select New Caledonia)
The unique status of New Caledonia is in between that of an independent country and a regular collectivité d'outre-mer
or overseas collectivité of France. A territorial congress and government have been established, and the 1998 Nouméa
Accord organized a devolution of powers. Key areas such as taxation, labor law, health and hygiene and foreign trade
are already in the hands of the Congress. Further powers will supposedly be given to the Congress in the near future.
A New Caledonian "citizenship" has also been introduced: only New Caledonian "citizens" have the right to vote in the
local elections. This measure has been criticized, because it creates a second-class status for French citizens living in
New Caledonia who do not possess New Caledonian "citizenship" (because they settled in the territory recently). New
Caledonia is also allowed to engage in international cooperation with independent countries of the Pacific Ocean.
Finally, the territorial Congress is allowed to pass statutes that are derogatory[further explanation needed] to French
law in a certain number of areas.
On the other hand, New Caledonia remains an integral part of the French Republic. Inhabitants of New Caledonia are
French citizens and carry French passports. They take part in the legislative and presidential French elections. New
Caledonia sends two representatives to the French National Assembly and two senators to the French Senate. The
representative of the French central state in New Caledonia is the High Commissioner of the Republic
(Haut-Commissaire de la République, locally known as "haussaire"), who is the head of civil services, and who sits in
the government of the territory.
The Nouméa Accord stipulates that the Congress will have the right to call for a referendum on independence after
2014, at a time of its choosing.
The current president of the government elected by the Congress is Harold Martin, from the loyalist (i.e.
anti-independence) "Future Together" party (l'Avenir Ensemble), which toppled the long-time ruling Rally for Caledonia
in the Republic (RPCR) in May 2004. "Future Together" is a party of mostly Caucasian and Polynesian New
Caledonians opposed to independence but tired of the hegemonic and allegedly corrupt anti-independence RPCR.
Their toppling of the RPCR (that was until then seen as the only voice of New Caledonian whites) was a surprise to
many, and a sign that the society of New Caledonia is undergoing changes. "Future together", as the name implies, is
opposed to a racial vision of New Caledonian society, which divides into opposing camps Melanesians native
inhabitants and European settlers, and is in favor of a multicultural New Caledonia, better reflecting the existence of
large populations of Polynesians, Indonesians, Chinese, and other immigrants. Some members of "Future Together" are
even in favor of greater autonomy or even independence, though not necessarily on the same basis as the Melanesian
independence parties, which seek full independence for New Caledonia.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of New Caledonia
Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by France and Vanuatu
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 FRANCE COUNTRY REPORT (Including overseas departments, territories and possessions of France)
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 24, 2012
France is a multiparty constitutional democracy. The president of the republic is elected by popular vote for a five-year term.
Nicolas Sarkozy is the incumbent. The upper house (Senate) of the bicameral parliament is elected indirectly through an electoral
college, while the lower house (National Assembly) is elected directly. Elections for seats in the National Assembly and for the
presidency in 2007 and for seats in the Senate in 2011 were considered free and fair. The Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) is
the majority party in parliament. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.
The most significant human rights problem during the year involved government evictions and compulsory repatriations of illegal
immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria, many of whom were Roma. Several attacks against Roma were also reported.
Overcrowded and unhygienic conditions in prisons were compounded by problems in the judicial system, including lengthy pretrial
detention and protracted investigation and trials. French Muslims and others of immigrant origin faced some discrimination,
particularly, in the case of Muslims, as a result of a prohibition against face-covering attire in public institutions.
Other human rights problems reported during the year included antidefamation laws that limited freedom of speech and press,
societal violence against women, anti-Semitic incidents, and trafficking in persons.
The government took steps to prosecute and punish security force and other officials who committed abuses. Impunity was not
Note: The country includes 11 overseas administrative divisions that are covered in this report. Four overseas territories in French
Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Reunion, have the same political status as the 22 metropolitan regions and 101 departments on
the mainland. Five divisions are overseas “collectivities”: French Polynesia, Saint-Barthelemy, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre and
Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna. New Caledonia is a special overseas collectivity with a unique, semiautonomous status between
an independent country and an overseas department. Mayotte became the 101st department on March 31, 2011. Citizens of these
territories periodically elect deputies and senators to represent them in parliament, like the other overseas regions and departments.
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:Share
Click here to read more »
Statement by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, upon concluding
his visit to New Caledonia– 4 to 13 February 2011
Noumea, 13 February 2011
In my capacity as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, I have conducted a visit to New
Caledonia from 4 to 13 February 2011. My visit offered me a unique opportunity to witness conditions relevant to my mandate and
to consult with a wide range of stakeholders. I would like to thank the authorities of the Republic of France for their cooperation. I
am also grateful to the Customary Senate for the assistance it has provided to me in the preparation and conduct of my visit.
The objective of my visit has been to hold consultations and receive information in order to examine the human rights situation of
the indigenous people of the country – the Kanak people –while recognizing fully the history of New Caledonia. I have sought to
understand the approaches that the Government of France as well as the Government of New Caledonia and the Kanak people have
chosen in their efforts to progressively achieve a harmonious and productive coexistence among all sectors of the country’s
population, through implementation of the Noumea Accord of 1998.
I have had the opportunity to consult with the High Commissioner and other French officials, the President and ministers of the
Government of New Caledonia, officials of the three Provinces, the members of the Customary Senate, and other customary
authorities. I also wish to thank the representatives of numerous Kanak and non-governmental organizations, including trade unions
and women, youth and environmental organizations that have provided information to me.
In addition to my meetings in Noumea, I traveled to the three provinces of the country. I visited authorities and members of
indigenous communities in Kone, Thio, Saramea, Lifou and Ouvea. I also visited the detention centre in Noumea. I am grateful for
the warm hospitality with which I have been received by Kanak customary authorities and their communities and by government
I am encouraged to learn of a consensus among stakeholders around the Noumea Accord, which provides a framework to transfer
powers from France to New Caledonia institutions and allows for the possibility of full independence. I especially welcome the
provisions of the Noumea Accord that promote the culture and customary institutions of the Kanak people as an integral part of
social and political fabric of the country, as well as the provisions that provide a foundation for the many initiatives being taken to
address the conditions of disadvantage that Kanak people face in all spheres of life. I note that the Noumea Accord can and should
be interpreted in a manner fully consistent with the the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The
Declaration complements the United Nations policy on decolonization.ith representatives of the Kanak people.
Click here to read more »
No reports from Freedom House mentioning New Caledonia after exhaustive search of their data base. Please forward
any information you may have regarding Freedom House efforts on behalf of New Caledonia to the Pax Gaea World
Report editor at the link below.
Contact the editor »
No reports from Amnesty International mentioning New Caledonia after exhaustive search of their data base. Please
forward any information you may have regarding Amnesty International efforts on behalf of New Caledonia to the Pax
Gaea World Report editor at the link below.
Contact the editor »
Israel's Misguided Crackdown Strategy
To lower the risk of violence, the usual, get-tough response to Palestinian protests is the wrong approach
by Bill Van Esveld
Published in: Salon
September 24, 2011
The Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Liberman has said that he fears “tens of thousands” of Palestinians may demonstrate this
month to support a Palestinian bid for upgraded United Nations status, and predicts “bloodshed on a scale we haven’t seen.”
According to leaked documents, the military is preparing for “mass disorder” and has spent $22 million on crowd-control
equipment, and issued orders to fire at the legs of any Palestinians who cross the “red lines” that it has demarcated around
But if Israel wants to lower the risk of violence around the expected U.N. vote, its usual, get-tough response to Palestinian protests
is the wrong approach. Instead, it should start by meeting its legal obligation to respect freedom of peaceful assembly and
expression in the occupied territories.
Israeli military orders in the West Bank have effectively banned even peaceful protests. Any gathering of 10 or more people, even in
a private home, about “a political matter or one liable to be interpreted as political,” is prohibited without a military permit, on pain
of up to 10 years in prison. The Israeli military commonly imposes “closed military zones” on Palestinian villages that seek to hold
demonstrations, restricting access to the villages for up to six months at a time.
The military has also repeatedly subjected Palestinian advocates of peaceful protests to arbitrary arrests, abusive military
prosecutions and unfair trials. In 2009, for instance, the Israeli military arrested Mohammed Khatib, a protest organizer from the
village of Bil’in who had called for nonviolent protests against the confiscation of village lands by Israel’s separation barrier. The
military charged him with throwing stones at a demonstration in 2008. Khatib’s passport showed, though, that he was on the
Pacific island of New Caledonia at that time.
Click here for more»
TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE
HIGH COMMISSION OF THE REPUBLIC
Management regulations and general administration
April 22 and May 6, 2012
Hours of opening and closing of the 253 polling stations in New Caledonia:
Polling stations in New Caledonia will be open Sunday 22 April and 6 May 2012 8:00 to 6:00 p.m.. Voters who present themselves
at the polling place after closing time (18 hours) can not vote. However those who arrived in the office 18 hours before voting
can still vote.
Right to vote and credentials:
In principle, the voter must prove their right to vote by presenting its electoral map.
However, the presentation of the electoral map is not required. A voter can exercise his right to vote if they are registered on the
electoral list or is carrying a judicial registration and he proves his identity.
In municipalities with more than 3500 people will be required presentation of an identity to be allowed to vote. If the voter can not
prove his identity, the chairman of the polling station shall deny him the right to vote.
The list of acceptable identity documents is as follows:
1 National Identity Card;
3 Identity Card with photograph parliamentary issued by the chairman of a meeting Parliamentary
4 identity card with photograph local elected issued by the representative of the State;
5 ° Map fighter buff or tricolor;
6 Map of civil or military disability with photography;
7 official identity card with photograph of the State;
8 Identity card or card circulation with photograph issued by the military authorities;
9 ° driver's license;
10 ° Permits to hunt with photograph issued by the representative of the State;
11 ° Booklet or travel permit issued by the prefect under Law No. 69-3 of 03.01.1969;
12 ° justification worth Receipt of identity issued in exchange for identification in case of judicial review;
13 ° Proof of submission of an application for a national identity card or passport, issued since less than three months by a
common identity with a photograph of the applicant authenticated by the seal of the municipality;
These titles must be valid, with the exception of the national identity card and passport that can be presented valid or expired.
Click here to read more »
TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE
Monitoring of the rights of indigenous peoples
Thursday, July 19, 2012
France voted 13 September 2007 the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (institutions in New
Caledonia, CDP 2011, p. 16 http://www.sceren.com/ ). This text is applicable throughout the national territory (ibid., p. 209). But
the statement does not have binding effect. The United Nations sent in 2012 in the United States a questionnaire on best practice
measures and strategies to achieve the objectives of the UN Declaration.
The response of France from March 1, 2012, through its Permanent Mission in Geneva, can be downloaded here:
If the prose is careful, say a little jargon, reading can be enhanced with a few remarks:
Note first the diversity of situations French overseas territories. Indigenous peoples are found in New Caledonia, French Polynesia,
Wallis and Futuna, Mayotte and also in Guyana. If the status of territories or countries overseas Oceania allow proper consideration
of the reality of indigenous peoples, the status appears as a department incongruity. We will have a different fate Mayotte and
French Guiana. In the latter department, Indians represent only 5% of the population, while the majority are largely Mayotte
Mayotte. Policy of France decidedly lack of readability. Transforming in Mayotte department, at the same time and by the same
legislative instrument where she spent the institutional evolution of New Caledonia by the Organic Law n ° 2009-969, France was
unanimously condemned by the African Union. The status of the department is yet to inappropriate consideration of different civil
status or customary ownership. Departmentalization of Mayotte will prove to be a failure quickly, plunging the population into the
economic assistantship, schizophrenia by using two civil statutes and formal and informal social demands permanent.
The report notes in paragraph 3, that France seeks to take into account the aspirations of indigenous peoples in the constitutional
principles of equality and indivisibility of the Republic. These principles prohibit precisely the establishment of a separate legal
regime between citizens, create categories of people with different privileges. This assertion justified departments, demonstrates the
inadequacy of departmental status in recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples at the time said everywhere need affirmative
action or positive discrimination, France remains one away this evolution.
With regard to New Caledonia, although general statements of France's response is incorrect. There is no duplicity. France leads
simply contradictory policies in its overseas territories, without seeking or openness to modernity, or intellectual coherence,
economic or financial. It is recalled that the Kanak people has been constitutionalized, alongside the French people, with which it
shares indefinitely French nationality he is recognized the right to live according to his custom. Citizenship of New Caledonia has
been created and the right to vote is restricted for political elections in the country, only to citizens. Recognition of Kanak people
and symmetrically other communities, provides a constitutional basis for the implementation of affirmative action, if wished New
Caledonia (institutions in New Caledonia, supra, at p. 15). Decolonization is a process recognized, while France was a close fight at
the United Nations to deny this right to the Polynesian people, who requested by resolution of the Assembly of French Polynesia
August 8, 2011, which was annulled by the court Papeete Administrative requested the High Commissioner for incompetence ...
(!). Finally, the New Caledonia has the right to self-determination, which is very specific in the French overseas territories.
The question remains for New Caledonia, like other countries in Oceania, the existence of potential contradictions between the
claim of independence, which implies that the majority of "people concerned" and claim the defense of peoples Indigenous peoples
have kept alive their social, linguistic, cultural, political and sometimes legal, but become a minority in their traditional areas.
Click here to read more »
TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE
New Caledonia: A religious mediation to resolve the conflict
Published on August 7, 2011
CRISIS - The Minister of Overseas Marie-Luce Penchard, has taken this decision in the idea of restoring dialogue on Maré Island ...
A religious mediation was decided to attempt to resolve the conflict at the root of clashes that left four dead and 23 wounded on
Saturday in New Caledonia , announced Sunday the Minister of Overseas Marie-Luce Penchard . The conflict occurred on the
airfield on the island of Maré, one of the four Loyalty Islands , is linked to a dispute over ticket prices airline Air Caledonie.
"It is absolutely a way that will establish a dialogue to ensure that calm settled on the island of Maré. This is why we propose a
mediation religious authorities, "said Marie-Luce Penchard on iTV after a meeting with his ministry. The principle has been
accepted by both sides and mediation should start soon, she said. The Minister shall also have obtained the lifting of blockades
around the airfield at Roche for the police to take positions on Monday and free access to the slopes.
The Minister believes that the conflict is in fact a dispute "deeper, related to the distribution of land" and wants to open a dialogue
on this point also. The High Commissioner of the Republic of New Caledonia, Albert Dupuy is on site but the minister did not think
to move at the moment.
Saturday's clashes occurred when 300 people from the district of Grand Chief Guahma Nidoish Naisseline, also president of Air
Caledonia, won the aerodrome of Roche to remove members of the group of users who blocked the access for ten days. Users
protesting against rising ticket prices Air Caledonia, commonly known Aircal. After an exchange of stone throwing, clashes
escalated in the afternoon and shots were fired.
"Maré had a day of nightmare"
Four young people were killed, including a nephew of Nidoish Naisseline. "Maré had a day of nightmare. This is a dramatic result,
"said Albert Dupuy. Airport Maré, Lifou like those and the Isle of Pines, have been frozen since July 22 by the collective of users
Aircal company that requires a strong reduction in the price of tickets. With losses estimated at 1.2 million since the beginning of
the conflict, said Friday Aircal be on the verge of bankruptcy.
President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected in late August in New Caledonia. French territory in the Pacific, the province has already
experienced violent conflict in the 1980s, temporarily settled by an agreement in 1988 to amend the division of powers with the
metropolis. A referendum on self-determination must be held between 2014 and 2019.
Click here to read more »
High Commissioner since 6 October 2010
President of the Government
since 3 March 2011
Click on map for larger view
Click on flag for Country Report