WCC urges postponing third referendum on independence of Kanaky-New Caledonia people

Photo: Marcelo Schneider/WCC

World Council of Churches acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, in a letter to the president of France, expressed support for appeals from the Protestant Church of Kanaky-New Caledonia and other concerned partners regarding the third referendum under the Noumea Accord.

“It is obvious that this third and last consultation of the people of Kanaky-New Caledonia on the question of their self-determination/independence must take place under conditions which guarantee transparency, impartiality and legitimacy, in accordance with the spirit of the Noumea Accord,” reads the letter.

However, Sauca said, the date of 12 December scheduled for the holding of the referendum, when the territory is facing a new outbreak of COVID-19 and had to declare a state of emergency, is clearly not conducive to the holding of an appropriate referendum process or legitimate results for a vote.

“We note that the timetable set by the Noumea Accord allows for the last referendum to be called at any time until November 2022,” wrote Sauca.

“Given the exceptional stakes hanging over this crucial decision for the nationals of Kanaky-New Caledonia, in the midst of a pandemic and in a state of emergency, and in view of the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on the Kanak communities, we call for acting in a reasonable manner and showing flexibility in full respect of the framework provided for by the Noumea Accord.”