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New Caledonia: Will one of France's last colonies achieve independence on November 20?

A Creek in Southern New-Caledonia. Red colours reveal the richness of the ground in iron oxides, and nickel.

The island of New Caledonia has been a colony for the 164 years and is one of France's last colonies in the world. Located abour 1200 kilometres east of Australia, the island was named by Captain Cook in 1774.  It was taken over by France in 1853 under orders by Napoleon III. In 1946, New Caledonia became an overseas territory but remains a French colony. 

The Indigenous people of New Caledonia, the Kanaks, have been isolated on reserves and excluded from leadership of the colony.  They have been not been able to reap the benefits of the local economy, which is dominated by nickel mining. They've waged a long struggle for independence. This coming November 20 an independence referendum will be held in New Caledonia to decide its future.

APC caught up recently in Melbourne, Australia with Daniel Goa, spokesperson for the independence movement Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS), at a community function. They asked Goa about the prospects for the Kanaky people in the upcoming referendum. The voice of the interpreter is that of Ms. Sophie Dutertre.

Asia Pacific Currents provides updates of labour struggles and campaigns from the Asia Pacific region. It is produced by Australia Asia Worker Links, in the studio of 3CR Radio in Melbourne, Australia

Image: Wikimedia - A Creek in Southern New-Caledonia. Red colours reveal the richness of the ground in iron oxides, and nickel.

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