Hotspot Micro-Report


More than 30 people in 2003 and hundreds of people since 1998 have been killed in the Solomon Islands.  Thousands have been intimidated and displaced from their homes. The violence and intimidation stem from long-term tensions between the Istabu, the indigenous population of Guadalcanal, and the Malaitans from the neighboring island of Malaita. Although both groups are ethnic Melanesians, the Istabu resent the migrant Malaitans for taking jobs and landIn 1998, fighting broke out between these two groups after the Istabu Freedom Movement began forcing Malaitans out of Guadalcanal. As a result, some 30,000 people had to abandon their homes.  In June 2000, a rival militia group, the Malaitan Eagle Force, staged a coup and forced the prime minister to resign, accusing him of failing to address the crisis.  Although an Australian-brokered peace deal was signed in October 2000, tension and violence continue today, particularly in the Weathercoast region of Guadalcanal, where warlord Harold Keke and his supporters reside.  Keke is said to be responsible for a four-year reign of terror around his base and for hundreds of Weathercoast villagers fleeing to refugee camps in Honiara.  On July 24, 2003, an Australian-led intervention force arrived on the islands to restore peace.  Since the arrival of this force, Keke has freed three of the nine Church of Melanesia brothers he held hostage. It is feared that Keke may be holding six remaining hostages as a shield against any attack by the foreign force.  Leaders of the Malaita island militia, which still controls parts of the capital Honiara since its coup in 2000, say they want to surrender their weapons and discuss a 30-day amnesty with the head of the peacekeeping force.

Evidence of Abuse and Danger
  • Arbitrary detainment, torture, and execution of suspected dissidents and members of opposing ethnic groups (Amnesty International)
  • Innocent civilians terrorized or killed in the crossfire of the two warring factions (AI)
  • Forced displacement of Malaitans under the threat of death by the Guadal people (AI)
  • Rape of women (AI)
  • Homes raided and destroyed in Weathercoast villages (New Zealand Herald, July 7, 2003)
  • Increased malnutrition and preventable fatalities among children and mothers (AI)
  • Widespread availability of illegal guns and estimated 1300 illegal weapons held by militants and the public  (New Zealand Herald, AI)
  • Decapitation (an Australian missionary was beheaded on the island of Malaita this year). (BBC)
Field Contacts Verification
  1. International Media

  2. Embassies

  3. International Human Rights

  4. NGOs

  5. International Relief NGOs

  6. National Organizations

  7. Local Organizations



International Contacts:

United Nations Office of the Secretary General
United Nations Security Council
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations High Commission for Human Rights
United Nations High Commission for Refugees
Australian High Commission in Solomon Islands
European Union

United States Contacts:

Department of State:

  •  Human Rights, Democracy and Labor

  • Emergency Task Force


  • House of Representatives: Committee on International Relations

  • Senate:  Committee on Foreign Relations

  • Congressional Caucus on Human Rights

Foreign Ministries:

Foreign Ministries:

Embassy of Australia                           
Embassy of New Zealand

Embassy of Papua New Guinea           
Embassy of Indonesia
Embassy of India                                 
Embassy of the Netherlands
Embassy of Pakistan                            
Embassy of Belgium
Embassy of Sri Lanka              
Embassy of Finland
Embassy of the United Kingdom          
Embassy of Denmark
Embassy of Norway                            
Embassy of Canada
Embassy of Sweden                            
Embassy of European Union
Embassy of France                              
Embassy of Russia
Included are UN ambassadors from these countries


Non-Governmental Organizations / Other:

International Crisis Group
Human Rights Watch
Amnesty International
International Committee of the Red Cross in Solomon Islands



The Washington Post
Washington Times
LA Times
Chicago tribune
New York Times
Associated Press
United Press International
The Australian
The Age
Canberra Times
The Courier Mail
Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation
New Zealand Herald
Voice of America



Back to Home Page