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Jubilee Australia responds to Bougainville President Momis regarding its 'Voices of Bougainville' report

Release Date: 27-Oct-2014

Jubilee Australia responds to Bougainville President Momis regarding its 'Voices of Bougainville' report

See Jubilee's full response to President Momis dated 26 October 2014, and subsequent responses dated 18 November 2014 and 7 January 2015.  

Jubilee Australia today responded to a letter by Bougainville President John Momis that raised concerns about Jubilee’s recently published report: Voices of Bougainville: Nikana Kangsi, Nikana Dong Damana (Our Land, Our Future).  

The response, signed by Jubilee’s Chair Luke Fletcher on behalf of the 5-member Board, states that 'the Jubilee Australia Board has carried out a detailed review to address each of the specific concerns raised regarding the report. Our investigation has found these criticisms to be without basis…The Board stands by its original judgement regarding the importance of public discussion on this issue.’
 
The response to President Momis’ complaint that the report claims to represent all of Bougainville is specifically rejected, citing one of the several explicit statements in the Report to the contrary: ‘Bougainville is a large and diverse island – this report did not attempt to survey the entire population. Doubtless, some communities in other parts of Bougainville may have differing views both about what happened in the past, and what should happen in the future’ (p. 46 of the Report).
 
Responding to the criticism that Jubilee Australia should have consulted with the Bougainville government prior to publishing its report, the letter states that 'it was Jubilee Australia’s judgement that gaining trust with communities could have been compromised should it have been linked, or even perceived to be linked, with government...No disrespect to the ABG or official landowner associations was intended as a result of Jubilee Australia’s decision to proceed with the research in the way it did.’

Regarding Momis' allegations of bias by its researchers, Jubilee stands by the professionalism of its partners, the PNG-based NGO Bismarck Ramu Group and the UK-based International State Crime Initiative, affirming them to be ‘highly professional and aware of the need for the research to be conducted in an as impartial, rigorous and systematic way as possible.'

Speaking to its role as an Australian NGO concerned with Australian Government and corporate accountability to our neighbours in the Asia Pacific Region, Jubilee’s Board commented that ‘Australia has a strong history of involvement in the Panguna mine through its government and its corporations, making this an issue of significant concern for Australians who wish to ensure that their government and companies act responsibly, that past harms are acknowledged and mistakes not repeated.

On 12 September 2014 Jubilee Australia published its report, Voices of Bougainville, documenting concerns raised by villagers from Bougainville’s Panguna Region regarding the proposed reopening of the Panguna Mine, and issues still lingering since the mine’s closure in 1989 and the 10-year war that followed. Respondents expressed views about a range of topics including the conflict, peace, justice and reconciliation, and their hopes for the future of Bougainville.

See Jubilee's full response to President Momis dated 26 October 2014, and subsequent responses dated 18 November 2014 and 7 January 2015.

View the report here, or download it here at http://www.jubileeaustralia.org/page/resources

For more information contact Jubilee Australia CEO Brynnie Goodwill 0404 896 396 brynnie[at]jubileeaustralia.org