CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.
Authorities signed security pact with Beijing, which provoked concern among U.S. and its allies over potential future Chinese military presence on islands. After leaked draft surfaced in March of security pact between govt and China, which reportedly included provision on establishing permanent Chinese military base on islands, govt 1 April announced that it “is conscious of the security ramification of hosting a military base, and it will not be careless to allow such initiative to take place under its watch”. News of pact triggered international concern among U.S. and its allies. U.S. Deputy Sec of State Wendy Sherman 12 April held call with FM Jeremiah Manele about reopening U.S. embassy in capital Honiara after 29 years. Australian envoy next day visited Honiara and met PM Manasseh Sogavare, requesting govt “respectfully to consider not signing the agreement” with Beijing. Sogavare 20 April confirmed deal had been signed with China. U.S. National Security Council Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink 22 April visited Honiara and met Sogavare; statement following meeting said U.S. would have “significant concerns and respond accordingly” if “steps are taken to establish a de facto permanent military presence, power-projection capabilities, or a military installation”. Australian PM Scott Morrison 24 April described Chinese military base as “red line” for Australia. Japanese Vice FM Kentaro Uesugi 26 April met Sogavare, reportedly expressing Japan’s concern over security pact.
Anti-govt protest in capital Honiara degenerated into days of violent unrest, killing at least three people. Demonstrators from Malita island 24 Nov gathered outside parliament in Honiara, Guadalcanal province, to protest numerous issues, reportedly including self-determination, development and opposition to country’s 2019 decision to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of China; protests same day turned violent and led to three days of unrest as hundreds of demonstrators looted and burnt dozens of buildings, notably in capital’s “Chinatown” area; attempts were also made to storm parliament and PM Sogavara’s private residence. Sogavara 24 Nov imposed curfew and called for Australian assistance; around 100 Australian police and military personnel and around 50 officers from Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary 26-27 Nov arrived to support local police in quelling unrest, which led to at least 100 arrests; police 26 Nov reported finding three dead bodies amid charred rubble. Fiji PM Bainimarama 29 Nov said his country would deploy 50 soldiers “to help maintain peace and security”. Sogavara 28 Nov blamed foreign powers and “certain elements” for unrest, saying events were “well planned and orchestrated to remove me as the prime minister”.
Riots broke out in capital Honiara 24 April after parliament appointed three-time PM Manasseh Sogavare, previously removed from office in 2017 no-confidence vote, for another term as PM following elections 3 April. Police used tear gas to disperse protesters and reportedly detained some 50 people, many in connection with looting and destruction of property.
PM Sogavare escaped no-confidence vote over controversial nomination of Julian Moti as attorney general after opposition MPs withdrew motion. Moti is wanted in Australia on child rape charges.
New police commissioner Jahir Khan revived plans to rearm police, beginning with protection forces for PM Sogavare. Australian-led assistance mission RAMSI reiterated its disapproval.
Government defeated opposition motion to scrap PM Sogavare’s controversial initiative to rearm local police.
SI police commissioner, Australian citizen Shane Castles, declared persona non grata late December; government said it will seek non-Australian replacement. PM Sogavare accused Canberra of bullying in its move to block rearming of Solomons’ police force and signalled further intention to reduce role of Australian-led RAMSI assistance mission.
Spat continued between Canberra and Honiara as PM Sogavare pledged to review legal immunity granted to RAMSI peacekeeping force, alleging troop involvement in illegal prostitution. Australia rejected allegations.
PM Sogavare ordered expulsion of Australian High Commissioner citing “heavy-handed” interference” by Canberra in domestic affairs, claimed Australian-led security force had failed and country risks further ethnic clashes. Australian FM Downer responded by threatening to withdraw visa privileges for Solomon politicians.
PM Sogavare announced intention to dismiss attorney-general in dispute over inquiry commission’s power to investigate 2 jailed MPs’ involvement in April unrest. Sogavare visited Taiwan reaffirming diplomatic relations and support for Taiwanese UN membership.
PM Sogavare established commission of inquiry into April riots.
PM Sogavare dismissed police, tourism and culture ministers after being criticised for having appointed them while they remain in detention for inciting April riots.
Situation improved after opposition leader Sogavare won secret parliamentary ballot 4 May, following April mass riots which forced resignation of Snyder Rini. Australia to scale down troop presence from 400 to 140.
PM Snyder Rini resigned after 8-day tenure marked by violent riots in capital, Honiara. Demonstrators claimed Rini, elected via secret ballot by newly elected members of parliament 18 April, too closely linked to previous tainted administration, and had used money from Taiwanese or Chinese sources - in context of continuing cross- Strait diplomatic battle over recognition of Taiwan - to bribe his win. Riots targeted Chinatown and left large areas in ruins. Government implemented curfew while Australian-led peacekeeping force - bolstered by additional 110 troops - patrolled city to prevent further violence. Curfew lifted 27 April, with new elections due first week May.
Security situation stabilised. Weather Coast region of Guadalcanal officially declared safe; over 200 refugees who had fled fighting earlier in the year returned in December. Australian-led multinational intervention force completed troop withdrawal from Weather Coast November 2003. Rapid reaction force remains on high alert in Townsville, Australia, deployable within 24 hours. Australian PM Howard visited 22 December for discussions with Solomon Islands government and civilian Regional Assistance Mission.
Security situation stabilising. Australian- led multinational intervention force completed troop withdrawal from Weather Coast, one of two major trouble spots. Rapid reaction force will remain on high alert in Townsville, Australia, deployable within 24 hours. 300 arrests made over course of mission including leaders of all main rebel groups and 3,700 weapons collected and destroyed. Millions pledged for reconstruction at 20 November donors meeting in Honiara.
Security situation stabilising; Australian- led multinational intervention force began drawdown 27 October. Force to be reduced to 100 armed troops and 500 other military staff. Rapid reaction force will remain on high alert in Townsville, Australia, deployable within 24 hours. Leaders of all main rebel groups arrested; 3,700 weapons collected and destroyed.
Security situation continuing to improve. Australian-led multinational intervention force maintaining order and disarming population. 3,400 weapons turned in, now searching for illegal arms. Mission likely to last longer than originally planned. Harold Keke, leader of Guadalcanal Liberation Front (GLF), and top commanders on trial for murder.
Australian-led multinational intervention force arrested Harold Keke, leader of Guadalcanal Liberation Front. Amnesty for return of illegal weapons ended. Some 2,700 weapons turned in. Intervention force will now begin searching for illegal weapons. Australian Prime Minister John Howard visited for talks.
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