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Solomon Islands: Follow up to SLB36622.E of 10 April 2001 on the current treatment of ethnic Chinese in the Solomon Islands

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 13 April 2004
Citation / Document Symbol SLB42551.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Solomon Islands: Follow up to SLB36622.E of 10 April 2001 on the current treatment of ethnic Chinese in the Solomon Islands, 13 April 2004, SLB42551.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/41501c5c7.html [accessed 28 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

According to an August 2003 Country Brief on the Solomon Islands by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), many people from Malaita Province, who had settled on Guadalcanal Island in the Province of Guadalcanal, and who were driven out by the Isatabu Freedom Movement (IFM) in 1999, have since returned to the capital city of Honiara on Guadalcanal Island. A number of articles from 2000 reported on the evacuation of ethnic Chinese from the Solomon Islands (SI) as a result of the ethnic and political tensions that had escalated in the country (Xinhua 18 June 2000; ibid. 3 July 2000; ibid. 19 June 2000). However, no information on whether any of the ethnic Chinese settlers have since returned to the Solomon Islands could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. The Country Brief does not mention the ethnicity of those who returned to Honiara from Malaita (DFAT Aug. 2003).

A travel advisory issued by Radio New Zealand International on 6 May 2002 stated that "a large number of high-powered weapons remain at large in both Guadalcanal and Malaita [and that] police have a limited capacity to respond to crime." The statement also mentioned that the Solomon Islands are safe outside of the regions of conflict (RNI 6 May 2002).

In January 2003, a police commissioner from Britain was appointed in the Solomon Islands; he vowed to create stability, defend human rights and professionalize police practices (AI Mar. 2003; DFAT Aug. 2003). However,

[t]he prevailing atmosphere of lawlessness, with frequent outbreaks of violence, widespread extortion, and compromised nature of the Royal Solomon Islands Police, whose senior officers maintained links with criminal gangs, were significant obstacles to recovery. From late 2002, the government's ongoing commitment to reform and fiscal discipline was increasingly undermined by extortion and other intimidation directed against the SI Government by criminal groups.

The assassination of former Police Commissioner (1982-1996) and National Peace Councillor Sir Fred Soaki in Auki on 10 February 2003, and the two day closure of commercial banks in Honiara in late May, as a result of threats, underscored the serious state of lawlessness in Solomon Islands.

Following a formal request for assistance from the Solomon Islands Government in July 2003, Australian and Pacific Island police and troops arrived in Solomon Islands on 24 July 2003, as part of the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). The mission, consisting of a policing effort, with military back-up, and a large development cooperation component, aims to restore law and order to Honiara and the other provinces of Solomon Islands, and to create an environment in which the effective functioning of Solomon Islands' democratic institutions and service delivery mechanisms can recommence (ibid.).

On 18 February 2004, the Australian DFAT advised travellers to "exercise caution" in the Solomon Islands, especially in the capital cities of Honiara, in Guadalcanal Province, and Auki, in Malaita Province, and in rural areas of these two provinces.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Amnesty International (AI). March 2003. The Wire. "Solomon Islands: Guns and Greed in Solomon Islands." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2004]

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). 18 February 2004. "Travel Advice: Solomon Islands." [Accessed 19 Mar. 2004]

_____. August 2003. "Solomon Islands Country Brief." [Accessed 19 Mar. 2003]

Radio New Zealand International (RNI). 6 May 2002. "New Zealand Advises Against Non-Essential Travel to Solomon Islands." (FBIS-EAS-2002-0506 7 May 2002/WNC)

Xinhua. 3 July 2000. "Efforts in Evacuating Chinese Nationals in Solomons Praised." (Dialog)

_____. 19 June 2000. "Chinese Nationals Evacuated from Solomons Arrive in Guangzhou." (BBC International/Dialog)

_____. 18 June 2000. "Highlights of Diplomatic News Today." (Dialog)

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International, China.org.cn, Country Reports 2002, Dialog, Human Rights Watch, Pacific Islands Report, Radio Australia, World News Connection.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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