UN mission in Bougainville scheduled to end on 30 June, after elections

30 March 2005

With elections for the first autonomous government in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville scheduled for late May and early June, the United Nations mission there plans to fold its tent at the end of June, a report to the Security Council says.

The elections, from 20 May to 2 June, will choose the President and the Bougainville legislature, or House of Representatives, which will comprise 33 members, along with three elected women and three elected former combatants, the report from Secretary-General Kofi Annan says.

The UN Observer Mission in Bougainville (UNOMB) has destroyed most of the 2,014 weapons turned in since a decade of secessionist fighting against Papua New Guinea ended in 1998. UNOMB is working through community leaders to persuade some of the former combatants to destroy the remaining weapons before the elections.

At a UNOB-facilitated meeting between political, military and rebel leaders on 17 March, "the participants discussed the issues of lifting the last roadblock at Morgan Junction, reconciliation between Francis Ona, the leader in the 'no-go' zone, and Joseph Kabui, president of the Bougainville People's Congress, and the upcoming elections."

The National Court has resumed its hearings in Buka for the first time in four years to try a backlog of cases, but establishing correctional facilities is lagging, "thereby impinging on human rights issues."

"With the establishment of the Bougainville Government, the political role of the United Nations in the peace process will have been successfully completed," the report concludes.

"From that moment, the United Nations developmental and humanitarian agencies and the donor community will take the lead in helping the autonomous Bougainville Government to implement its rehabilitation and capacity-building programmes, thereby consolidating the outcomes of the political process."


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