“For 171 years, we have been living under French colonialism, with all our rights taken away from us,” New Caledonian Foreign Minister Mickael Forrest told a conference organized by the Baku Initiative Group (BIG) at the UN headquarters in New York, Report informs.

Minister Forrest revealed that his country has been facing severe pressure from France, particularly in recent times: “My country is located in the Melanesia region of the Pacific Ocean. Since 1986, we have been on the list of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization. It was during Azerbaijan’s chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement until 2023 that we had new opportunities to work with your country on an international level. During this period, Azerbaijan stood by us in our rightful struggle and called on the international community to respect my country’s rights.”

The situation in New Caledonia has worsened recently, according to the minister. “There are numerous French military personnel in New Caledonia, targeting women and children. More than 3,000 soldiers in the region are killing or maiming residents. Today, through the BIG, we brought this issue to the agenda on the UN platform and sought help from the international community,” he emphasized.