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Statement from the Office of the President

The Late Great Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare always described Bougainville as an integral part of Papua New Guinea. 

This statement could not be any truer. During the formative years of this country, Bougainville and our political leaders played a vital role in securing and guaranteeing PNG’s independence on September 16, 1975. Our resources gave the economic guarantee for independence and our leaders such as Sir Paul Lapun, Sir Donatus Mola, Grand Chief Dr. John Momis, Sir Alexis Sarei and Leo Hannet supported Sir Michael through the establishment of governance systems that formed the basis of Papua New Guinea’s democracy.

As President of Bougainville, I will go on further to state that from a historical standpoint it is undeniable that Bougainville was an integral part of Papua New Guinea. However, this was before we had an unjust war waged on us by the very institution sworn to protect our rights and civil liberties. It was sponsored by a regime so disillusioned by greed and plundering our rich resources it did not hesitate to wage a genocidal war against people who were only defending ourselves, our lands and our constitutional right to exist and express ourselves.

While the Bougainville Civil War will forever remain a very dark period in Papua New Guinea’s history it serves as a powerful reminder to us all that any government sworn to protect its people should never raise its hand against them in an act of war. It is an experience that must never be allowed to repeat itself in Papua New Guinea or on any of its provinces. The costs are too great and the losses irreplaceable.

Our stand for an independent sovereign state of Bougainville will never be compromised. We have stood on the forefront of the battlefield to protect our people from oppressors, and we have stood yet again on the forefront to make peace. Our aspiration for independence is not merely based on figures on paper but it based on the human struggle of people and our history. We recognize that the Bougainville Process is an ongoing process that remains to be settled by the legal framework that governs it.

As Bougainville continues to endeavour on our own path to self-determination, we acknowledge that we are still a part of Papua New Guinea. It is within these sentiments that I wish the Government and people of PNG happy celebrations on the eve of the 48th Anniversary of Papua New Guinea’s Independence. By the grace of God, Papua New Guinea and Bougainville can mutually coexist as brothers defined only by an international border in the near future.

God Bless Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.


Hon. Ishmael Toroama, MHR


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