12 May 2020

French Covid-19 decree challenged by New Caledonia leaders

4:54 pm on 12 May 2020

The extension of the French government's Covid-19 health emergency is being challenged in court by three New Caledonian members of the French legislature.

The members - Senator Gerard Poajda and the National Assembly's Philippe Dunoyer and Philippe Gomes - said its application to New Caledonia goes against both the constitution and the Noumea Accord, which grants the territory powers to decide its own health policies and border controls.

They said that under the French rules, the territory would not be allowed to quarantine people that Paris deems to have arrived from a low-risk country.

Caledonia Together party celebrates its tenth anniversary

Caledonia Together party celebrates its tenth anniversary Photo: FB Caledonie Ensemble

In a joint statement they said this meant that France could exempt travellers from Australia and New Zealand while under New Caledonia's rules anyone arriving from overseas had to be quarantined in designated hotels for two weeks followed by one week in self-isolation.

They said France allowed various isolation options.

The three parliamentarians, who belong to the anti-independence Caledonia Together, said the decree as it stands violated the Noumea Accord enshrined in the French constitution.

Last week, a pro-independence Congress member said his party would also challenge France's involvement in New Caledonia's health policies over a decree issued by the High Commissioner in April.

New Caledonia had the last of its 18 positive Covid-19 tests almost five weeks ago while France has had more than 140000 cases and more than 26000 deaths.

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