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Bougainville Referendum Behind Schedule

The Director of the PNG National Research Institute, Doctor Osborne Sanida says the Bougainville Referendum is behind schedule.

Doctor Sanida says the process is behind schedule because of various reasons.

A critical reason is because the electoral rolls for the autonomous region are yet to be completed.

These outstanding issues are compiled in the 6th Research Report on Status and Implementation of Bougainville Peace Agreement and Implications for Referendum, written by Doctor Kylie McKenna, a sociologist at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology in Australia, and launched Thursday (14.02.19).

The Bougainville Regional Member, Joe Lera launched the report.

The report says Bougainvilleans living outside the region do not know how they have to register to vote and what the choices mean.

Doctor Sanida says rushing into a referendum without adequate preparation could compromise the credibility of its outcomes and pose serious implications.

The NRI's Bougainville Referendum Research Project Team Leader, Doctor Thomas Webster highlighted findings of the report, which also says the progress on the Bougainville Peace Agreement has been unsatisfactory, because many people are still not aware of it and its expectations.

The report also points out that funding remains a major constraint in moving preparations forward.

The report however, recommends that instead of focusing on the shortfalls, both the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the National Government can draw insight to continue to strengthen peace in the region regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

The Bipartisan Parliamentary Committee on Bougainville Affairs led by the Southern Highlands governor, William Powi and the Deputy, Joe Lera are planning to travel throughout Bougainville in the coming weeks to table a report for the Parliament sitting in April.

NBC News

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