April 21-22, 2016 -- Annexed South Pacific island taking its case to UN

publication date: Apr 21, 2016
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April 21-22, 2016 -- Annexed South Pacific island taking its case to UN

When a 2014 plebiscite resulted in over 95 percent of the people of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol voting to return from Ukrainian control to autonomous status within the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union, and other countries responded by calling the referendum and retrocession illegal and slapped sanctions on Crimean and Russian leaders.

On March 19, 2015, Australia, without any approval from the people of the remote Norfolk Island in the south Pacific -- the population of which are mostly descendants of the mutineers aboard the HMS Bounty who originally settled on Pitcairn Island but later moved to Norfolk -- scrapped the self-governing territory's legislative assembly. Australia then began procedures to absorb the island into the Australian state of New South Wales, thus abrogating the Norfolk Island Act of 1979, which originally conferred self-governing status to the island.

On May 8, 2015, the people of Norfolk Island rejected the Australian annexation by 70 percent in a popular referendum. Australia simply ignored the referendum's results and proceeded to stamp out all vestiges of Norfolk Island's self-government. As a result of the Australian action, on May 18, 2015, the people of Norfolk Island formed the Norfolk Island People for Democracy (NIPD) to represent the self-determination aspirations of the islanders in Canberra and around the world.

Norfolk Island is appealing to the UN for restoration of its self-government after its unilateral annexation by Australia.

The NIPD argues "in light of the changes made to the Norfolk Island Act on 26 May 2015 Australia can no longer sustain the argument that Norfolk Island is a ‘self-governing territory’ and must as a matter of international law now list Norfolk Island on to the United Nations list of ‘non self-governing territories'."

Australia's actions were no different than the actions in 1975, all approved by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, for three nations to annex their smaller neighbors. 1975 saw India invade and annex Sikkim, an independent kingdom in the Himalayas; Indonesia invade and brutally occupy East Timor; and Morocco invade and annex Western Sahara.

When Australia annexed Norfolk Island in 2015, no sanctions were levied on Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott or Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. There was only the sound of chirping crickets from Washington and Brussels. In reality, Australia and its junior partner New Zealand act as America's "sheriff" in the south Pacific, sending neo-colonial personnel into independent states like the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea at will.

Animated waving Norfolk Island flags    logo

The NIPD does not favor outright independence but a return to the status quo ante prior to Australia's annexation.

The NIPD maintains that it "supports self-government in free association with Australia . . . does not support independence [and] does not support integration with Australia" The movement recognizes "that self-determination means that the Norfolk Island People have the democratic right to choose which option they wish to pursue.” 

On April 22, two of the direct descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives --
Albert Buffett and Ken Christian, the President and Vice-President respectively of the Island’s Council of Elders, will  go to United Nations headquarters in New York to lodge a petition with the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization. The purpose of the Petition is to have Norfolk Island listed as a non-self-governing territory and to seek UN support for the restoration of the Norfolk Island Parliament and self-government.

Australia's installed administrator of Norfolk Island told Australian television network SBS that annexing Norfolk Island was like "a lost tribe coming home." The Norfolk Islanders were incensed at the use of the term "lost tribe," which likened the island's situation to some low-budget reality TV show.

Norfolk Island descendants of the HMS Bounty mutineers painted "Mutiny" on the UNESCO World Heritage Site wall at the Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area on Norfolk Island as the Australian gauleiter sent to the island as administrator views the graffiti.

In fighting for a return to their self-governing status, the Norfolk Islanders are reprising the roles of their ancestors aboard the Bounty. The Norfolk Islanders are like Fletcher Christian and his crew. They are up against Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a modern-day Captain William Bligh who ignores the demands of the islanders. Of course, the Barack Obama administration has affiliated itself with Turnbull (Bligh) and has ignored the islanders' plight. As the Norfolk Island delegation traveled to New York to appeal to the UN, Obama was busy kow-towing to the Saudi King and his royal court before making a pilgrimage to London to wish Queen Elizabeth II a happy 90th birthday. Obama's alleged father's family were all loyal colonial subjects of the British Crown and the American president remains a true monarchist at heart.

While the Norfolk Island delegation will have talks at the UN, they will not be welcomed by the State Department in Washington. America's founders are undoubtedly turning over in their graves at Obama's and his predecessor's coddling of the British monarchy and its neo-colonial contrivances that continue to exist in Canberra, Wellington, and Ottawa.

The Norfolk Island press published this editor's article of July 15, 2015, titled "Australia annexed a self-governing territory and the world remained silent." WMR is glad it could be of help to the beleaguered islanders. This editor, as a former U.S. naval officer who understands when it is necessary to relieve a commanding officer of his duties, having done so to my own commanding officer in 1982, is also proud to stand with the descendants of Fletcher Christian and his mutineers against the modern-day Captain Blighs.

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