State of Emergency in New Caledonia

State of Emergency in New Caledonia

Context: A state of emergency was declared in New Caledonia by France amid recent protests over the bill passed on voting rights granted to French residents of the island. This move is seen by many pro-independence Kanaks as a possible marginalization of the significance of their votes.


o Location: New Caledonia is situated around 1,500 km to the east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean.

o Demography: Indigenous groups, specifically the Melanesian Kanak people, have inhabited it for a few thousand years.

o History: Western colonial interest in the island began with the arrival of British explorer James Cook in 1774. In 1853, it was annexed by France, marking the start of a long period of French control over the island, resulting in a significant French population.

o Nouméa Accord: Signed in 1998 between France and New Caledonia, the accord granted limited autonomy to the island.

o Referendums on Independence: Three referendums have been held on the question of independence: in 2018, 2020, and 2021. In all three cases, the majority voted against independence.

o Polity: The population consists of 41% Melanesian Kanaks and 24% people of European origin, mostly French. Kanaks generally favor independence, while European-origin groups and other immigrants prefer French rule to continue.

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