Global Encyclopedia of Territorial Rights

Living Edition
| Editors: Michael Kocsis

Bougainville and the Case for Secession from Papua New Guinea

Living reference work entry



The territory of Bougainville consists of two main islands, Buka and Bougainville, and proximate smaller islands and atolls off the mainland of Papua New Guinea. At present this territory is part of Papua New Guinea. Historically, Bougainville’s leadership opposed inclusion in Papua New Guinea, which gained independence in 1975. From 1988 until 1998, Bougainville was subject to a Civil War as militants in Bougainville struggled for independence from PNG. Subsequently a peace process was initiated, the completion of which resulted in the Bougainville Peace Agreement, which was signed on 30 August 2001. The Peace Agreement affirmed, inter alia, PNG’s commitment to constitutional amendments guaranteeing Bougainville the right to hold a referendum on independence, and the formation of an Autonomous Bougainville Government. On 23 November 2019, the referendum was held and 98% of the people of Bougainville...

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Legal Documents

  1. United Nations (1945) The Charter of the United Nations of 1945.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Papua New GuineaPort MoresbyPapua New Guinea

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin W. Gray
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada