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Fiji PM sights damage to Pacific from Nuclear tests

The Pacific region has suffered human and environmental consequences due to more than three hundred nuclear tests conducted since the end of the Second World War says Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Addressing leaders at the High Level Plenary on Promotion of The International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons at the UN, Bainimarama said Fiji has not only spoken against nuclear weapons, but has fully supported measures to ban them.

Bainimarama says the tests were conducted by powerful governments in the Pacific as they considered this corner of the globe to be a “safe” place for nuclear weapons tests.

“They knew of the destructive power of these weapons and the long lasting environmental contamination and health crisis they cause. That is why they didn’t conduct atmospheric testing closer to their own homes – they chose an area that they deem to be largely uninhibited.”

Bainimarama says as a result to date whole communities and cultures remain permanently displaced.

In 2015, the government set aside a $2.5million (US$1.1 million) compensation fund to assist the families and remaining members of the Fijian Military who served under British during nuclear testing in the Pacific.

“I say this not to cast blame or keep resentments burning more than fifty years after the tests. There is no room in this conversation for this bitterness and we all have learned a great deal since those tests. I say this simply to point out some human beings are still paying the price of that dark chapter in our history those many years ago.”

Bainimarama noted Fiji is signatory to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and a number of other international agreements prohibiting the testing and presence of nuclear weapons in the Pacific.


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