9 Oct 2003

Calls in New Caledonia for France to uphold property rights

4:37 pm on 9 October 2003

Farmers and politicians in New Caledonia have asked the French state to guarantee property rights amid an industrial dispute that has led to a prolonged land occupation.

The New Caledonian president, Pierre Frogier, says the French state must take note that the claim by the striking workers is a militant racket that has to be ended.

Members of the USTKE union have set up a traditional Kanak house on the property on a farmer as part of an industrial dispute with the Montagnat mining company.

Earlier this week, about 200 farmers from several coastal towns met in Tontouta over the affair and sent a delegation to Noumea but the high commissioner, Daniel Constantin, was on another island.

They say the right to private property is in the 1998 Noumea accord and the occupation is not related to the problems at Montagnat.