22 Sep 2003

French high commission says no amnesty in St Louis violence

5:01 pm on 22 September 2003

The French high commissioner in New Caledonia, Daniel Constantin, has ruled out an amnesty for those involved in the ethnic violence in St Louis which saw the last of 170 Wallisian move from the suburb.

Over two years, the dispute between the Wallisians and the Kanaks cost three lives, 19 other people were injured and more than a dozen houses and cars were hit by gunfire.

Mr Constatin says it is unacceptable to describe the state-supported move of the Wallisians to other parts of Noumea as ethnic cleansing.

The high commissioner says the use of the term is scandalous because the authorities intervened to prevent ethnic cleansing which he says is the physical elimination of people.

He says police protected the people concerned for a long time and it has taken a substantial effort to negotiate a solution to the problem.