It has become commonplace to argue that there is a contagion of state weakness across the Pacific Islands. Conflicts occurring in Bougainville (1990s) and Solomon Islands (early 2000s), Fiji’s history of coups – military- and civilian-led (1987 onwards), ongoing tribal violence in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) highlands, and continued tensions around indigenous autonomy claims in New Caledonia or French Polynesia are indicative of these trends. Even where these conflicts seem outwardly to have reached a point of resolution, tensions continue to simmer in ways which make peace fragile. In these settings women’s social, political and economic standing, and their physical safety, is far from assured.
Women from the region have not been passive observers of these conflicts. They have worked across racial, village, and clan lines, often at great personal risk, and sometimes clandestinely, to challenge the normalization of violence and to alleviate its humanitarian impacts. In Bougainville,
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