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Paris turns blind eye to French Polynesia’s independence referendum

The United Nations are set to judge whether French Polynesia’s independent stance is a farce or not.

French Polynesia is due to vote on independence in December this year after the UN declared the 118 islands and atolls still a colony in 2013, returning it to the list of non-self-governing territories.

President Edouard Fritch has been strong in denouncing France’s involvement in the territory’s affairs.

Fritch said French Polynesia is no longer experiencing colonial traits including oppression, predation or a confiscation of its natural resources from its former ruling power.

But he also told the UN the overseas collectivity should be delisted again based on his 2018 election where most voters oppose independence.

The ruling Tapura Huiraatira government had wished to maintain political autonomy within the French republic, and continue to grow that relationship while strengthening ties with Oceania nations.

Tahitian pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru sings the praises of the upcoming French Polynesia referendum to determine independence in the French overseas territory. Picture: Twitter

But the territory’s pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru has dismissed calls for the territory to be withdrawn from the UN decolonisation list.

Speaking from UN headquarters in New York, Temaru has instead called only for a referendum on independence from France to determine French Polynesia’s future.

The party that has called for greater autonomy since being founded in 1977 is welcoming a UN decolonisation committee sending a team to assess whether or not it meets the criteria.

Deputy leader Moetai Brotherson accused Fritch as serving the French High Commission and not French Polynesian people following orders during the pandemic from Paris on deciding the closure and reopening of borders to deal with Covid-19.

France has refused to recognise the 2013 UN General Assembly decision.

The opposition are demanding that only long-term French Polynesian citizens have a right to vote in the referendum which France is refusing to acknowledge.

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