Peace Corps Program in Solomon Islands Interrupted; All Volunteers Safely Relocated to Vanuatu
June 20, 2000WASHINGTON, D.C., June 20, 2000—Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider announced today that the Peace Corps has suspended its operations in Solomon Islands because of the ongoing political situation there. All volunteers and American staff were safely relocated to Vanuatu last week.
"The Peace Corps has a long-standing commitment to ensure the health and safety of our volunteers," said Schneider. "In light of the circumstances in Solomon Islands, we felt we had to suspend operations. We did so with regret, however, and we hope that future circumstances permit our quick return."
Schneider said that the Peace Corps office in the country's capital of Honiara will remain open, with Peace Corps staff from Solomon Islands continuing to work there.
All 64 Peace Corps volunteers are now in Vanuatu where they will take part in a transition conference. They will be given the option of transferring to another country, returning to the United States, or resuming their duties in Solomon Islands should the suspension be lifted within the next year.
Currently, nearly 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 76 countries to bring clean water to communities, teach children, protect the environment, help start new businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 155,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 134 nations.