3 Apr 2017

New Caledonia candidate promises to push case of Kanaks

2:15 pm on 3 April 2017

A teacher in New Caledonia has announced that she will stand in the election of the French National Assembly in June to push for better recognition of the rights of the indigenous Kanaks.

Kanak and French flags on Ouvea island.

Photo: AFP

Kanaks, who make up about 40 percent of New Caledonia's population, are only one of two peoples officially recognised within the French republic.

Germaine Nemia Bishop said her main point was to secure the application of the UN declaration on indigenous people's rights which would boost the role of traditional chiefs in the running of the territory.

Mrs Nemia Bishop, who has the backing of pro-independence teachers, said she was also driven by the independence referendum due next year which will conclude the 20-year decolonisation process set out under the Noumea Accord.

Under the Accord, chiefs were recognised but lack formal powers in administering the territory.

Mrs Nemia Bishop said 90 percent of prison inmates were Kanaks, there were practically no Kanak lawyers, doctors or engineers and the drop-out rate was high.

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