A democratic society is one in which there is respect for the rule of law and a commitment to values enhancing social cohesion. It needs to be underpinned by public policies aimed at the general good, including reduction of inequality. Institutional arrangements are critical, but do not in themselves solve all challenges on the ground. This is particularly the case in societies undergoing decolonisation. In the multicultural society of New Caledonia, whilst the process of 'rebalancing' may appear to have been implemented to a large degree at the political level, social rebalancing has not been achieved. Certain indicators make this clear: ongoing poverty, delinquency, marginalisation and poor educational outcomes for parts of the population. Whatever the outcome of the referendum on self-determination, social issues remain crucial if the decolonisation process is to be successful.
Florence Faberon lectures in Law at the University of Clermont Auvergne in France, where she also has executive responsibility for Access and Inclusion. Her teaching and research deal with public law, in particular administrative law, human rights and social welfare law. Her interests also include the juridical context of France’s Overseas Territories, in an approach that examines the vulnerability of people and places. She has published widely in these fields. In addition to her activities at the University of Clermont Auvergne, she is an associate member of the Centre for Medical Law at the University of Aix-Marseille.