The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the most bitter fighting of World War II occurred on this archipelago. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, and endemic crime have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003, then Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia in reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has generally been effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea; on 2 April 2007 an undersea earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale occurred 345 km WNW of the capital Honiara; the resulting tsunami devastated coastal areas of Western and Choiseul provinces with dozens of deaths and thousands dislocated; the provincial capital of Gizo was especially hard hit
Protestant 73.7% (Church of Melanesia 32.8%, South Seas Evangelical 17%, Seventh-Day Adventist 11.2%, United Church 10.3%, Christian Fellowship Church 2.4%), Roman Catholic 19%, other Christian 4.4%, other 2.4%, unspecified 0.3%, none 0.2% (1999 census)
the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of parliament for up to five years (eligible for a second term); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of a majority coalition usually elected prime minister by parliament; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among the members of parliament; Gordon Darcy LILO elected on 16 November 2011
Direct Development Party or DDP [Dick HA'AMORI]; People's Alliance Party or PAP [James MEKAB]; People's Congress Party or PCP [Fred FONO]; People's Federation Party or PFP [Rudolf DORA]; Ownership, Unity, and Responsibility Party or OUR [Manasseh SOGAVARE]; Reform Democratic Party or RDP [Danny PHILIP]; Rural and Urban Political Party or RUPP [Samuel MANETOALI]; Solomon Islands Democratic Party or SIDP [Steve ABANA]; Solomon Islands Liberal Party or SILP [Derek SIKUA]; Solomon Islands National Party or SINP [Francis HILLY]; Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement or SIPRA [Job D. TAUSINGA]; United Party [Sir Peter KENILOREA]
note:in general, Solomon Islands politics is characterized by fluid coalitions
divided diagonally by a thin yellow stripe from the lower hoist-side corner; the upper triangle (hoist side) is blue with five white five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern; the lower triangle is green; blue represents the ocean; green the land; and yellow sunshine; the five stars stand for the five main island groups of the Solomon Islands
by the end of 2007, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) - originally made up of police and troops from Australia, NZ, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga - had been scaled back to 303 police officers, 197 civilian technical advisers, and 72 military advisers from 15 countries across the region
The bulk of the population depends on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of its livelihood. Most manufactured goods and petroleum products must be imported. The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold. Prior to the arrival of RAMSI, severe ethnic violence, the closing of key businesses, and an empty government treasury culminated in economic collapse. RAMSI's efforts to restore law and order and economic stability have led to modest growth as the economy rebuilds.
Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) is the sole TV broadcaster with 1 station; multi-channel pay-TV is available; SIBC, the public service broadcaster, operates 2 national radio stations and 2 provincial stations; 2 local commercial radio stations operating; Radio Australia is obtainable via satellite feed (2009)
since 2003, RAMSI, consisting of police, military, and civilian advisors drawn from 15 countries, has assisted in reestablishing and maintaining civil and political order while reinforcing regional stability and security
current situation: the Solomon Islands is a destination country for local and Southeast Asian men and women subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution; local children are subjected to sex trafficking, particularly near foreign logging camps and on foreign and local commercial fishing vessels, but also at hotels and entertainment establishments; some girls are hired under the guise of domestic labor in logging and fishing areas, but subsequently coerced into commercial sex; some Asian women from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines may have been recruited from their home countries for legitimate work and upon arrival, forced into prostitution; men from Indonesia and Malaysia are recruited to work in the Solomon Islands' logging and mining industries, and may be subsequently subjected to forced labor in industrial camps; the Solomon Islands is a destination country for child sex tourists
Tier 2 Watch List - the government failed to report any efforts to investigate or prosecute any trafficking offenders, or identify or assist any trafficking victims; the government did not conduct any public awareness campaigns on trafficking (2011)