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PCRC Congratulates Vanuatu Authorities

2 September 2002

PCRC Congratulates Vanuatu Authorities On Successful Peace Reconciliation

The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre has welcomed the successful 'Kastom Peace Reconciliation', which took place in Port Vila, Vanuatu on 31 August, 2002, sealing the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement Between the Vanuatu Government, the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF), the Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF) and the Malvatumauri (the Vanuatu National Council of Chiefs).

The initiative by Malvatumauri opted to use the Melanesian principles of preventative diplomacy in bringing about dialogue, understanding and acceptance among Vanuatu authorities to put an end to Port Vila's state of tension, instead of waiting for its escalation which would lead to armed resolution.

According to the Secretary General of Malvatumauri, the peace reconciliation ceremony involved the exchange of pigs and mats among each other to compensate for their involvement and actions in disturbing public peace.

The Prime Minister on behalf of the government gave a pig each to the Vanuatu Police Force and the Vanuatu Mobile Force for his application for the warrant of arrest. The Vanuatu Police Force and the Vanuatu Mobile Force each exchanged a pig to each other and the Malvatumauri gave a pig to the Prime Minister.

Motarilavoa Hilda Lini - PCRC Director said: "History has shown that constitutional governance, western judiciary and western legal procedures do not always have the capacity to deal with peoples energy and determination when their conscience is clear that they are defending what is right, either by nature or by law."

Vanuatu being the host of 2003 Melanesian Cultural Festival, PCRC congratulates the Vanuatu authorities for their wisdom in accepting and implementing the Melanesian peace reconciliation initiative proposed by the Vanuatu National Council of Chiefs.

The conflict was triggered by the appointment of the new police commissioner outside legal procedures, which led to his arrest without any warrant of arrest, by the Vanuatu Police Force and the arrest of 16 other senior government officers involved in endorsing his appointment. This led to government application for warrant of arrest and termination of service for 27 police officers accused of mutiny. The tension escalated with the public display of armed conflict between the Vanuatu Mobile Force, executing the warrant of arrest and the Vanuatu Police Force defending their action against illegal procedures of appointment. Malvatumauri decided to step in and negotiate peace between the parties in conflict.

For more information contact: Motarilavoa Hilda Lini, telephone: (679) 3304 649; fax: (679) 3304 755; email:

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