THE EXPERIENCE OF LOSS AND GRIEF IN FORCED DISPLACEMENT & PLANNED RELOCATION IN THE PACIFIC
This paper, written in 2021, explores how loss and grief is experienced through forced displacement and planned relocation in the Pacific and the subsequent implications that Pacific peoples have faced after being ‘removed’ from their homelands and ‘moved’ to a foreign land. The loss of ecological culture, cultural heritage, and generational trauma experienced by Pacific communities raises the question of whether planned relocation and displacement threatens their right to life with dignity. Drawing on the case of forced relocation of Banabans during colonial times and cases of recent climate-related relocation of communities in Fiji, this paper emphasizes the need to consider the psychosocial impacts on Pacific communities and cultures as well as the less tangible and immeasurable ramifications of being ‘uprooted’. These case studies can inform current dialogues and planning of contemporary and future relocations of Pacific communities by raising questions of sovereignty, sense of belonging and participation and identifying ways to uphold Pacific Island people’s right to life with dignity, irrespective of whether they decide to move or to stay.