PACIFIC – The Pacific Islands Forum has been granted approval to establish a permanent observer office at the United Nations in Geneva. Mere Falemaka, who is currently the permanent representative with the forum’s delegation to the World Trade Organisation, will also be the forum’s face in the Swiss city. The forum’s secretary general, Dame Meg Taylor, said observer status would entrench the Pacific’s presence in Geneva and strengthen links to UN organisations.
NO NEED FOR RESERVED WOMEN’S SEATS
VANUATU – There is no need to create reserved seats for women in parliament, Vanuatu’s minister of internal affairs says. Andrew Napuat told the 15th conference of the Vanuatu National Council of Women that current opportunities for women to enter parliament were adequate. This is despite moves by elements of the Charlot Salwai led government to introduce specially reserved seats for women in the national parliament, which currently has no women members. Napuat said women made up over half of the country’s population and should be able to fill half the parliament without reserved seats being created. All women needed to do was to speak as one and join forces in order to forge better representation in parliament as well as provincial councils.
ELDER URGES LANGUAGE PRESERVATION
NEW ZEALAND – A Rotuman elder living in New Zealand, who fears the loss of his native language, is urging all speakers to use it more at home. The Rotuman community in Auckland has started its own campaign to save its unique language and culture from extinction by hosting the first Rotuman Language Week in New Zealand. Ravai Mosese, who is a pastor, said there had been a noticeable decline in Rotuman language use among youth. He said as learning began at home, parents and grandparents should be proactive in imparting their language and culture to other generations. Mosese said his island’s language and culture were treasures that needed to be taken care of, if they were to survive.
AMERICAN SAMOA ‘NOT COLONISED’
AMERICAN SAMOA – The American Samoa Government has again told the United Nations Decolonisation Committee the territory’s people do not consider themselves colonised. The Attorney General, Talauega Eleasalo Ale, presented a statement from the government and Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga to the committee’s Pacific Seminar in Grenada. Talauega told the committee, American Samoa’s relationship with the United States was one that was built on trust and respect for the native people and their Samoan culture. He also said American Samoa’s relationship with the US allowed the territory the freedom to operate its own local government.