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Terre et territoires : Défis et évolutions dans les pays du Pacifique

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169 pages
Cet ouvrage présente les risques encourus par nombre de petits Etats du Pacifique dont les peuples autochtones sont en quête de reconnaissance politique, économique et culturelle. Certains petits états, pour être acceptés ou entendus des grandes puissances, transforment leurs territoires en paradis touristiques et fiscaux, ou en refuges pour immigrants indésirables. Du réel au symbolique, du culturel au politique, que reste-t-il aux minorités pour affirmer leur souveraineté?
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CENTRE D'ETUDE DU PACIFIQUE

MARYVONNE NEDELJKOVIC Directeur de la Collection

YBI
SCIENCE POLITIQUE ET SCIENCES HUMAINES

TERRE ET TERRITOIRES: DÉFIS ET ÉVOLUTIONS DANS LES PAYS DU PACIFIQUE
LAND AND TERRITORIES: CHALLENGES AND CHANGES IN THE PACIFIC RIM COUNTRIES

L'Harmattan 5-7, nIe de l'École-Polytec1mique 75005 Paris

FRANCE

L'Harmattan Hongrie Hargita u. 3 1026 Budapest HONGRIE

L'Harmattan ItaIia Via Bava, 37 10214 Torino ITALIE

NUMEROSPRECEDENTS/BACKISSUES

YH/] Les minorités dans les pays d'accueil du Pacifique: reconnaissance The Minorities in the Pacific Rim Host Countries: Cognition and Recognition Publication du Centre d'Étude du Pacifique Université du Havre, janvier 1998, pp. 167 épuisé lout of print

connaissance et

YH/2 Le Commonwealth: modifications de l'apport culturel britannique The Commonwealth: British Tradition and Evolution Publication du Centre d'Étude du Pacifique Université du Havre, janvier 1999, pp. 182 épuisé lout of print

YH/3
L'esprit de tolérance et le respect de la différence dans les sociétés multiculturelles du Pacifique Tolerance and Respect for Difference in the Multicultural Societies of the Pacific Rim Publication du Centre d'Étude du Pacifique Université du Havre, janvier 2000, pp. 248 épuisé lout of print YH/4 La Démocratie: Crise d'identité et I ou réconciliation nationale Democracy: Identity Crisis and / or National Reconciliation Publication du Centre d'Étude du Pacifique Université du Havre, janvier 2001, pp. 429 épuisé / out of print YH/ Les pays du Pacifique en crise: à la recherche de l'unité dans la multiplicité The Pacific Rim Countries: Looking for Unity within Diversity L'Hannattan,2002,pp.319

AVANT-PROPOS

POURQUOI

YHI?

YHI, titre de la publication annuelle du CEPAC, est tiré du nom de la déesse aborigène du soleil, nos centres d'intérêts et d'analyse s'exprimant principalement de façon symbolique. En effet, que ce soit en politique, diplomatie, ou dans toute activité créatrice, nous pensons que les choses attendent d'être "réveillées" par le léger toucher de la lumière et le murmure de la raison qui font s'estomper l'obscurité et les ombres de la nuit. Si le monde est rempli de beauté, il a néanmoins besoin de l'énergie vitale de la vie et de l'imagination radieuse afin d'accomplir sa destinée. Mais, selon la légende aborigène: "La lumière est à la fois dure et douce. Elle peut être violente et implacable, elle peut être mordante comme elle peut réchauffer et apaiser." (Extrait de A.W. REED,Mythes et légendes d'Australie.) Nous espérons que nos thèmes de recherche rendront fidèlement compte de cet éveil du monde et de la vérité.

Professeur Maryvonne NEDELJKOVIC Directeur du Centre d'Étude du Pacifique ianvier 2003 oJ

FOREWORD

WHY YHI?

In answer to many questions on the part of our readers regarding the choice of YHI as title of the CEPAC publication, I would like to indicate that this collective choice is basically related to our prime interest in symbolism. Be it in politics or in diplomacy or in all creative activities, we think that things lay asleep, waiting for the soft touch of light and the whisper of reason that dispel darkness and shadows. This is why we adopted YHI, the Australian Aborigines' sun goddess, because if the world is full ofbeauty, it needs dancing life and radiant imagination to fulfil its destiny. But as the Aboriginallegend goes, "Light is a hard thing, and a gentle thing. It can be fierce and relentless, it can be penetrating, it can be warm and soothing". (From A.W. REEDMyths and Legends of Australia.)

We do expect our themes of research to be true to the awakening of the world and the dawning of truth.

Professor Maryvonne NEDELJKOVIC Head of the Research Centre on the Pacific January 2003

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Directeur du CEP AC Professeur Maryvonne NEDELJKOVIC

Comité de lecture du CEP AC Mmes et MM : GIBSON Andrew NATHAN Lois NEDELJKOVIC Maryvonne DE RAULIN Arnaud V OTRAINKenneth

Comité de rédaction du CEP AC Mmes: NEDELJKOVIC Maryvonne DUTHIL Fanny NATHAN Lois

Les auteurs des articles sont seuls responsables opInIons.

de leurs propos et

R. CROCOMBE

DROIT, PRATIQUE ET CULTURE DANS LES RELATIONS ÉCONOMIQUES ET POLITIQUES ENTRE LES ÎLES DU PACIFIQUE ET L'EUROPE
Professeur Emérite

-

Ron CROCOMBE Université du Pacifique

Sud - Fidji

Ron CROCOMBE le bilan des relations entre les Etats des îles du fait Pacifique et les gouvernements et hommes d'affaires des pays de tradition européenne. En un premier temps il rend compte des influences culturelles extérieures dues à la présence historique dans les îles de pays tels que la Grande-Bretagne, la France ou les Etats-Unis et il mentionne l'impact de l'apport juridique européen (français et anglo-saxon) dans les domaines du Droit constitutionnel du Droit privé. En un deuxième temps il s'attache cependant à montrer que les diverses accessions des îles à l'indépendance contitutionnelle, de 1962 à 1994, ont introduit -au moins dans les intentions- une prise en compte des usages et droits coutumiers locaux. Si le droit écrit reste marqué par ses origines européennes et est appliqué par les élites régionales et par les Etats dans les relations internationales, néanmoins les principes et pratiques "traditionnels" sont toujours plus ou moins licitement, voire légalement, en vigueur. Ron CROCOMBE, n résidant des îles Cook et e spécialiste des îles du Pacifique, prend en considération le jeu des relations sociales privilégiées qui au quotidien est plus respecté que les lois "étrangères" formelles; il donne en exemple diverses applications des usages countumiers dans certains secteurs sensibles comme les droits territoriaux, les droits de pêche ou les réglementations sur les investissements étrangers. Enfin Ron CROCOMBE parle de l'influence grandissante de l'Asie dans les îles du Pacifique, en particulier de l'influence confirmée du Japon, de la récente présence de la Chine et de la présence encore plus récente de la Corée. Il envisage ces pays comme possibles substituts aux puissances extérieures traditionnelles.
Résumé par Maryvonne NEDELJKOVIC

R. CROCOMBE

Notice biographique

Ron CROCOMBE Professeur Emérite, spécialiste en Etudes est du Pacifique à l'Université du Pacifique Sud, Suva, Fidji. Adresse e-mail: ronc@oyster.net.ck ou cepac@univ-Iehavre.fr
Membre du CEP AC et chercheur en stratégie du Pacifique.

Missions: -en France: université du Havre. -à l'étranger: Dans tous les pays et territoires insulaires du Pacifique, en Australie et Nouvelle-Zélande; en Asie, en action réciproque avec le Pacifique; en Europe et aux USA; conseiller dans diverses organisations régionales et mondiales dont: Nations Unies, Commonwealth Secretariat, South Pacific Forum (Pacific Islands Forum), Asian Development Bank. Thèmes de recherche: Tous les Etats - îles du Pacifique et leurs politiques territoriales; stratégies politiques et relations internationales; régimes fonciers; culture, éducation. Publications: nombreux ouvrages et articles dont: -CROCOMBE, on Asia and the Pacific Islands, under press, 2003. R -CROCOMBE,Ron The South Pacific, University of the South Pacific, Suva, 2001, pp. 792. -CROCOMBE, on Security in Melanesia (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, R Solomon Islands and Vanuatu), Pacific Islands Forum, Suva, 2001. -CROCOMBE,Ron Enhancing Pacific Security, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Suva, 2000, pp. 26. -CROCOMBE, Ron Land Issues in the Pacific, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, 1994, pp. 234. -CROCOMBE,Ron The Pacific Islands and the USA, East-West Center, Honolulu, 1996, pp. 418.

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R.

CROCOMBE

LAW, PRACTICE and CULTURE in ECONOMIC and POLITICAL RELATIONS between THE PACIFIC ISLANDS and EUROPE

I was asked to prepare a paper on some of the factors that European governments or businesses might wish to be aware of in their dealings with the Pacific Islands. The paper emphasises four simple and rather obvious facts: 1. That Europeans dealing with the Pacific need to be aware of the relevant laws of the various Pacific Islands nations and territories. That is generally not difficult as much of that law is derived from European law. Moreover, Pacific Islander lawyers you would be dealing with have been trained in European or European-derived law. 2. What the law says and what the people do are never exactly the same anywhere but this is much more so in the Pacific, partly because European-derived law is superimposed on quite different Pacific Islands cultures, values and practices. Moreover, the law is usually written in English (or in French in the Francophone territories) whereas most people use their own languages and are not fluent in English, particularly legal English. 3. It is also necessary to understand those elements ofPacific history that are relevant to negotiations that European governments or businesses propose to undertake. This applies also to a considerable extent with dealings between Pacific Islands on the one hand and Australia, New Zealand or USA on the other, because their legal systems and cultures have more in common with each other and with Europe than they do with the Pacific islands. 4. Asian relations with the Islands will increasingly influence European relations with the Pacific Islands. The most powerful influences from Asia to the Pacific Islands are from Northeast Asia, especially Japan, Korea and all the Chinas (Le. China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and

R. CROCOMBE

those ethnic Chinese who are economically and often politically so influential in Southeast Asia). India is of growing importance, but its difficult relations with Fiji since 1987 have complicated their relationship with the region as a whole. In terms of Asian people in the Pacific, the most important category has been Chinese and Filipino. Both categories are growing in the region. The important fact for the purposes of this paper is that many Asian laws, values and practices differ from those of Europe. Some of the values and practices of those Asians with whom they deal are more congruent with Pacific values and practices than are those from Europe. A blanket of European law and administrative systems lay across the Pacific before 1900. The whole of the Pacific Islands region was for several generations controlled by one European country or another. The process began with Spain taking the Philippines, then the Mariana Islands in 1565, as an expansion of Spain's empire in the Americas. Then there was a long gap. Spain later expanded into those Micronesian Islands that are now the three independent republics of Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau. The decline of Spain's economic and political power and the rise of economic, political and military power of North-west Europe, was reflected during the 1800s when Britain acquired Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands and Niue; France took Tahiti and its neighbours, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna; the Netherlands claimed the Western half of New Guinea; Germany annexed North-eastern New Guinea and bought what are now the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas from Spain (it was a time when powerful countries sold other peoples countries for cash and did not ask or inform the people whose countries were being sold!). So by 1900 the whole of the Pacific islands region was under one form of European law or another. That made business and political relations with Europe very easy for Europeans, and most external 12

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trade and political relations were with Europe and conducted by Europeans at both ends. From about 1900 the tide turned, and during the 1900s every change in control of territory in the Pacific reflected a decrease in European control of Pacific territory and Pacific governments but not necessarily of Pacific trade. An expanding USA took the Philippines and Guam from a declining Spain (in 1898 actually), but US concepts of law, government and commerce are of course derived from European sources. Likewise when Britain transferred control of Papua to Australia, and the Cook Islands and Niue to New Zealand, no major changes \vere involved. The first major change came when, during World War I in 1914, Japan took the Micronesian Islands from Germany and introduced a radically different form of law and government. At the same time Australia took Northeast New Guinea and Nauru from Germany, and New Zealand took Samoa. The biggest change came with constitutional independence. Fourteen Pacific Islands nations became independent of the former colonial powers between 1962 (Samoa) and 1994 (Palau). Each country made its own constitution. However, since the Islanders before colonisation had lived in smaller tribal political units and had no system of writing until it was introduced by missionaries in the 1800s, the departing colonial powers had a lot of influence on the constitutions and the governmental organisation of the newly independent nations. Thus the countries that used to be territories of Britain, Australia and New Zealand, have strongly Westminsterinfluenced constitutions. The three Micronesian countries that were territories of USA adopted governments on a broadly US model. The three French territories, although they remain closely associated with France, have been accorded increasing degrees of autonomy and self-government, again very much within the French model.

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R. CROCOMBE

So Pacific systems of law and government have a lot in common with Europe, which should facilitate commercial and political interaction between them. But does it in practice? To some extent it does, but there are important qualifications. For example, most laws in the South Pacific, in the sense of formal written laws passed by a national legislature, derive from those of the former or present colonial powers. This is particularly so in the 16 remaining non-self-governing territories of the various metropolitan powers, but to a significant degree it is also true of the 14 independent Pacific Islands nations. That may be one of the reasons that many of the laws are not particularly well obeyed or implemented. There needs to be a reasonable correlation between what is on the law books and what is in people's minds as reasonable behaviour. When the crunch comes, what people do and believe often matters more than what the law says. This is more evident when the law is written in a language different from the one in which people live their lives, and is based on equally different values and practices. But how much European law was practiced under the colonial blanket? Generally less than the colonial powers intended or assumed. In the colonial era, the laws introduced by European powers were important in the higher levels of government and the courts. All the colonial governments recognised indigenous culture and practice in varying degrees, and whether they recognised it or not, it was customary practice that determined most actions of most people most of the time. How independent are the independence constitutions? When the constitutions of the independent Pacific Islands nations were written just before independence, the importance of customary law and traditional legal processes was acknowledge. Customary norms were, in many cases, accorded the formal status of statute law. However, despite the intention, and despite the fact that those constitutions came into force at independence up to 40 years ago, not much has been done to apply customary law in the governments, legal systems or judiciary. Why is this? 14

R. CROCOMBE

There are several reasons: 1. Pacific Islander legal elites were trained overseas and in Western law. Thus they tend to be more oriented to Western laws, values and practices than to indigenous ones. This applies whether they work in government or private practice. Not many of them have a deep knowledge or understanding of customary principles and practices (sometimes despite rhetoric to the contrary). This would not matter if the majority of people had abandoned the customary principles and lived their lives according to the formal law. But to a large extent they have not. 2. International interaction tends to follow English-speaking, Western-derived practice. Because Pacific Islands countries are very small, a great deal is done in consultation with people of other countries - either bi-Iaterally or in regional or international organisations. As the Pacific Islands have 1200 languages (about one quarter of the world total), that consultation must take place in an international language, usually English. And it takes place between elites who are generally familiar with one or other European-derived system of law. 3. Yet "traditional" principles and practices remain important everywhere, but particularly in those places where a high proportion of people still live in rural communities such as most of the Melanesian countries. This means that there are two gaps, first between each national system and the systems of other nations with which they interact (and the nations that matter most in that connection are the nations which have the political and economic power), and second between the national elite and the citizens of their country. (The French who had to live under Viking Norman control or Nazi German control, or the English who had to live under William the Conqueror, would understand this problem better). 4. Little research has been done on the nature of custom as it was and as it is. There are few experts in custom in the government administrations, or the legal and judicial systems of the Pacific Islands and those there are tend to be at the lower 15

R. CROCOMBE

5.

levels of the judiciary. The legal departments are generally under-staffed because of financial constraints, and staff are generally bogged down on questions of formal statute law and international government or commerce. As constitutions change, they have tended to get closer to the indigenous cultures and to have less in common with the European precedents. The same trend is noticeable in the ways in which existing constitutions are applied. However, some changes in law are to make them compatible with United Nations resolutions (though they mayor may not then be practised).

So there is a considerable gap between real life and the legal system. It is not that one system or another is right or wrong, but that if the formallegal system is to be effective, it cannot be too far from the realities of life, including the way people think and behave. Obviously, customary systems which were designed for subsistence living in rural communities will change with increasing contact with high technology, \vith increasing mobility, with being citizens of nation-states. But how far will they change, in what directions, in what aspects of culture? As the industrialization and modernization of Japan and China and other countries show, there is no one right way, and no inevitable way. Indeed the continuing differences between France and the United Kingdom and Germany, three closely related peoples and cultures and languages, who have interacted for more than a thousand years, confirms that there is no one way. So very much more so in dealings between Pacific Islands nations and those of the industrialised nations. In the early days of independence, and when the constitutions were written, many people assumed that the courts would build up a body of customary law on the basis of case law, rather as had been done over the centuries with Common Law in England. But little of this has happened in fact. It is often a priority in principle but almost never in practice. Each country is different, and Samoa has done more than most to recognise and implement customary laws, principles and practices. 16

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There are limits to the efficacy of social
engineering.

(and legal)

Despite the common humanity and the growing commonality of the «global village», much difference remains, and we will be wise to be aware of the differences, the degree to which they are subject to adaptation, and the speed and direction of such change. For example I believe the military coup in Fiji in 1987 would not have occurred if the planners of the Fiji Labour Party, which won the election and was then overthrown, had understood ethnicity and culture better. Many of them were too committed to the Marxist ideology that ethnicity is false consciousness, and that the number of votes would decide who governed Fiji more than who voted. In fact, only 9% of indigenous Fijians voted for the Labour Party although indigenous Fijians comprised 46% of the population and almost 100% of the coercive forces. Given the balance of physical power, it was a foregone conclusion that the indigenous people would not accept being governed by an Indian-dominated government. And they did not. The Fijians took power in a coup in May 1987. Again in 1997, European countries and Australia, New Zealand and USA put strong pressure on Fiji to accept a new constitution, which was more in accord with European values and practices. Most Fijians did not want it, but non-Fijian pressures inside and outside Fiji, on the Fijian Prime Minister and others forced it through. They got the same result as in 1987, i.e. an Indian-dominated government. Non-indigenous people inside Fiji and without tended to rejoice, and to believe that democratic ideology had overcome Fijian values and principles. They won the battle but lost the war; for in 2000 the constitution was again overthrown by indigenous Fijians. Fiji and all the peoples of Fiji would be much better off today if non-Fijians had a better understanding of Fijian values and interests, and if the nonindigenous actors had been a little less committed to their respective ideologies and a little more responsive to the values and perceived interests of the indigenous people. Social engineering can have a role, but we need to be aware of its limits, particularly if 17

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the engineers are of a different ethnicity or culture from those being engineered. The Fiji case referred to is a particularly spectacular example, but the principle applies more widely in the Pacific. People with power and influence are too often tempted to use those powers to impose their ideologies on others in situations where they may make problems worse rather than better. The fact that this may be done with the best intentions is irrelevant - we all know what the road to hell is paved with. The largest current instance requiring careful consideration is the ACP/EU relationship (between the European Union and those African, Caribbean and Pacific Islands countries, which were formerly colonies of any country of Europe, under the Cotonou Agreement). It involves a conlplex set of negotiations, which have gone on for some years and will continue. Although all parties are involved, there is no doubt that the dominant weight in the whole negotiation has come from the European Union, which initiated it and which has not only more staff and money for the negotiations, but is a single entity negotiating with a multiplicity of very diverse nations scattered across the world. Europe is understandably using its leverage to have its priorities served. In principle this is fine, and can also have benefits for all parties, but not necessarily. One can only hope, for the benefit of all parties, that the European negotiators do not push their bargaining advantage too far. The ACP/EU example is but one of a network in which the industrialised nations of the West are trying to tie the Pacific islands nations down in a web of regional and international laws and conventions. At the moment Europe and the other "Western" nations have the initiative in relation to the Pacific Islands, but that is changing due to the rising influence of Asia in the Pacific Islands, in trade, aid, investment, flows of population, diplomatic activity, military power, and other dimensions of influence. It would be to anyone's long term benefit to press too far an advantage that may be relatively short-term.

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