Australia's contributed significantly to international conflicts in the 20th century - Bougainville and East Timor.

Essay by wolflikemeHigh School, 11th gradeA+, June 2007

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Australia has contributed significantly to international conflicts in the 20th century. A prime example of this contribution is highlighted in the peacekeeping missions in both Papua New Guinea (Bougainville) and East Timor.

AUSTRALIA AND BOUGAINVILLEHostilities in Bougainville, New Guinea began in the mid-late twentieth century, around the issue of Bougainville’s independence.

Bougainville is an island located east of Papua New Guinea’s main landmass, however wasn’t particularly culturally tied to the mainland. They had developed a culture more similar to that of the neighbouring Solomon Island and referred to the mainlanders as “red skins”. After a history of interaction with mainly Britain and Germany, Bougainville became part of the Australian colony of New Guinea after World War One.

Papua New Guinea became independent of Australia in 1975, and Bougainville stated that it too, would like to become independent – of New Guinea. Both the Australian and PNG governments disallowed this movement.

In 1988, a Bouganvillean by the name of Francis Ona quit his work at Australian/British owned mines on the island and formed an association that seeked compensation for the impact of the mine. In the November of that year, a bomb was dropped on a mine site and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) was born.

The BRA enjoyed a brief success over the PNG government however the mainland soon established a blockade. Inside the island, factions began to form and anti-BRA guerrillas (called The Resistance) invited the PNG army to return to the island. Throughout the whole process human rights were ignored and thousands of civilians suffered.

Formal negotiations took place in July 1997 when the conflict decreased. A truce was signed in October 1997 and a ceasefire obtained. Another ceasefire was declared in January 1998 and in 2001 the Bougainville Peace Agreement was established.

The Peace Agreement declared autonomy,