Kōrero: Peacekeeping

Whārangi 5. Solomon Islands

Ngā whakaahua

Between 1998 and 2003, the Solomon Islands was wracked by violence between different communities. More than 100 people were killed and around 40,000 were driven from their homes.

IPMT

In October 2000 the Townsville Peace Agreement was signed, promising to bring an end to the conflict. It called for the deployment of an unarmed 47-person International Peace Monitoring Team (IPMT) to observe the peace, monitor surrendered weapons that had been locked in shipping containers and to work with the newly formed Peace Monitoring Council. The mission was Australian-led, with New Zealand providing the deputy commander and a number of defence and civilian personnel.

In June 2002 the IPMT was withdrawn from the Solomon Islands. Violence had declined but few weapons had been surrendered and the underlying causes of the conflict had not been resolved.

RAMSI

The situation worsened again in 2003. The Solomon Islands government faced collapse and asked for help. In July, following discussions among Pacific leaders, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was sent to restore order.

Like the East Timor intervention, RAMSI was conducted with the consent of the host government. This mission did not have UN approval, but instead was nominally conducted under the auspices of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).

Immediate and long-term effects

The initial RAMSI force was made up of some 2,200 military and police officers, primarily from Australia and New Zealand, but with representation from several Pacific Island states. RAMSI had an immediate impact on the security situation. Law and order was restored, many violent offenders were arrested and by the end of 2003, more than 3,700 illegal weapons had been collected and destroyed.

The long-term goal of building a sustainable peace in the Solomon Islands was more challenging. In 2011, eight years after the initial RAMSI deployment, New Zealand maintained an infantry platoon and police officers in the Solomons. RAMSI's military task force departed in 2013 and its policing role ended in 2017.

Me pēnei te tohu i te whārangi:

David Capie, 'Peacekeeping - Solomon Islands', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/peacekeeping/page-5 (accessed 24 October 2017)

Story by David Capie, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 10 Jun 2015