The Prime minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare has awarded the Solomon Islands Medal (SIM) to 22 members of the Melanesian Brotherhood, Society of St Francis and their chaplain.
The award was Solomon Islands Independence Honours and Awards announced during the country's 23rd Independence anniversary celebrations on July 6th.
The award was in recognition of the role played by the brothers during the 2-year ethnic conflict, which has crippled the Solomon Islands economy and law and order until today.
The brothers have been instrumental in mediating and calming the two warring factions (the Isatambu Freedom Movement - IFM from Guadalcanal, and the Malatia Eagle Force - MEF from Malatia) in bringing them to the negotiating table which has led to the signing of the Townsville Peace Agreement between the two parties and the National Government in October last year at Townsville, Australia which the Archbishop of Melanesia, the Most Reverend Sir Ellison Pogo, KBE, was the only member of civil society to be represented.
It was only this year that the Solomon Islands started celebrating its Independence Anniversary and the Queen's Birthday since 1998 because of the ethnic crisis, which claimed about 100 lives of the country's population of just over 400,000.