10 Oct 2003

New Caledonian unionists occupy farmer's land

12:52 pm on 10 October 2003

The French High Comissioner in New Caledonia, Daniel Constantin, is backing a farmer whose farm is at the centre of a prolonged land occupation.

Farmers and politicians had called for the French state to guarantee property rights after members of the striking USTKE union set up a traditional Kanak house on the farmer's property as part of their dispute with a mining company.

Members of the union have since claimed that the land involved has been the centre of a ten year long land dispute.

As our correspondent in Noumea, Tuo Chinula reports, the High Commissioner is ready to support the farmer.

"he has given a guarantee, a promise that he will stand by the landowner in this conflict and that if the landowner requests the huts removal it will be removed."

Tuo Chinula says the High Commissioner has expressed hopes that a consensual resolution will be reached between the landowner and the strikers.