Banaban Voice

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Call for 'blackbirding' victims to be granted Vanuatu citizenship

Descendants of 'blackbirding' victims living in Australia are supporting moves to give them greater rights in Vanuatu.

The country's new justice minister, Ralph Regenvanu, together with a group of chiefs and fellow politicians, has signed a document calling for those Australians to be given Vanuatu citizenship.

In the 1800's Pacific Islanders were forcibly taken to work on Australia's sugar plantations, a practice known as 'blackbirding'.

It's estimated that more than 30,000 of those forced workers' descendants are living in Australia and
Les Muckan, whose great grandfather was taken from Vanuatu to Queensland, is among them.

Les is now the acting chairman of the Daralata Australian South Sea Islanders Association, and he's been ordained as a paramount chief in Vanuatu.

He says decendents of the Pacific slave trade retain strong links to their homelands.

Presenter: Stephanie March.
Speaker: Les Muckan, Daralata Australian South Sea Islanders Association.

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