Melanesian Brotherhood wins Human Rights Awards

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada reports the winner of the 4th Pacific Human Rights Awards.

FEB. 27, 2004 – The Melanesian Brotherhood — the largest religious community in the Anglican Communion — was awarded the first prize in the regional category of the 4th Pacific Human Rights Awards, for its active role in peacemaking and reconciliation during the 1999 and 2000 ethnic conflict in the Solomon Islands….

The ethnic conflict was between some of the indigenous people of the main island of Guadalcanal and settlers on Guadalcanal from the large neighbouring island of Malaita. The fighting broke out after about 20,000 Malaitans were driven out of Guadalcanal back to Malaita, resulting in the armed conflict between Isatabu (Guadalcanal) Freedom Movement (IFM) and the Malaita Eagle Force (MEF).

Last August, six brothers were killed by one of the rebel groups after going to the west coast of the island of Guadalcanal to retrieve the body of another member of the order who had also been killed.

That is the bravery and sacrifice that won the Brotherhood the human rights award, which was presented to them by the Prime Minister of Fiji, Laisenia Qarase. In 2001 the brothers were also awarded the Solomon Islands Medal for the same role.

Despite peace, the problems in the Solomon Islands still continue, and the Brotherhood still plays an important role in maintaining peace.

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