A federal report released Friday on the aftermath of violent unrest in Solomon Islands, issued by the Civil Society Consultation Forum, also revealed the struggles of the country’s citizens, who face poverty, high levels of unemployment and social inequality.
Solomon Islanders were shocked by violent rallies of partisan politicians, says @the_community_in_solomon which recorded violence in August.https://t.co/yE9C3BOvuN pic.twitter.com/Dn5Gnw92eX — ABC News (@abcnews) October 27, 2018
The violence erupted in Solomon Islands (search) — an archipelago located 1,500 miles south of Australia in the Pacific Ocean — when government officials opened fire on civilian crowds following the refusal of lawmakers to approve a referendum on turning the country into a democratic republic. According to the report, titled “The violence in Solomon Islands: A reflection of deep inequality in the country” (Article 19, Politics of Democracy report, ch. 2), the events left at least 10 dead, injured about 700 and “almost destroyed an entire city in the heart of the country’s capital, Honiara.”
By the time local police were able to control the violence, many parts of the country, and especially Honiara, were left without water, power, and communications.
Read the full report here.
After an independent investigation, authorities announced the killing of one man, during an exchange of gunfire with police and an Honiara police commander. However, despite the carnage in Honiara, the government expressed no intent to address the issues.
Of more concern was the blatant disregard of human rights and the international community at large, as the government has brushed aside suggestions that economic development and wellbeing of the citizens be prioritized over partisan politics.
The report says the violence exposed the deep divisions in Solomon Islands, with the internal security forces breaking down and anger and mistrust between gangs spilling over.
As the country rebuilds, the report says, two billion dollars of international investment will be critical to rebuild the government, land, resources and infrastructure of the country, but this requires a new approach in government work and a national reform process which assesses all areas of work.