A delegation of the UN decolonisation committee has described its visit to New Caledonia as a peace mission.
The team led by Amadu Koroma of Sierra Leone has met Congress members in Noumea and is to visit the northern province and the Loyalty Islands province as part of its tour.
The visit has been approved by France as part of routine consultations and has been welcomed by the pro-independence FLNKS movement.
However, anti-independence politicians have strongly criticised the visit, labelling it a farce.
They have also taken issue with the inclusion of a diplomat from Fiji because that country is being run by the military after the 2006 coup.
Last year, the anti-independence right objected to France admitting the Fiji regime leader when he visited Noumea in his capacity of leader of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.