Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Pacific Islands links: French Polynesia elections, the Melanesian Spearhead Group, sorcery in PNG, and more

Links on developments across the Pacific region.

An atoll in French Polynesia, July 2017 (Photo: Derek Keats/Flickr)
An atoll in French Polynesia, July 2017 (Photo: Derek Keats/Flickr)
Published 31 Jan 2018 

By Euan Moyle, an intern with the Lowy Institute's Pacific Islands Program.

  • More than 100 people are still missing after an overloaded ferry sunk in Kiribati on 18 January. Seven people on board the ferry were found in a dinghy on Sunday. Australian, New Zealand, and US planes are assisting in the ongoing search for survivors.
  • Graeme Dobell looks at how Australia and New Zealand can help to create a united economic and security community in the Pacific, amid controversy over Australian criticism of Chinese aid in the region.
  • A French court has upheld the ban on former French Polynesian President Gaston Flosse from standing in the territory’s election in April. Flosse was convicted on two separate corruption charges in 2014 and 2016.
  • PNG’s Port Moresby will host the next Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders Summit in February. The key issue during its last summit in 2015 was the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s membership bid, which caused significant tension between members.
  • ABC’s Pacific Beat spoke with researchers studying the increasing rates of sorcery-related attacks in PNG, who suggest a contributing factor is the PNG Government’s failure to fund its Sorcery National Action Plan and deliver services to isolated communities.
  • Nauru has lifted its controversial ban on Facebook and will waive its US$6400 non-refundable visa application fee for foreign journalists as it celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence and prepares for the Pacific Islands Forum later this year.

Pacific Research Program

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