Over 100 activist groups, including Greenpeace, Veterans for Peace, and the Arms Control Association have signed a letter calling on US President Joe Biden to apologise for nuclear tests conducted in the Marshall Islands.
letter urges Biden to deliver on promises his administration has made,
regarding justice for those affected by the tests. And it said this should be
done before the Compact of Free Association with Washington is signed by all
parties. So far, Palau and the Marshall Islands have done so, while the
Federated States of Micronesia have yet to.
US government clearly has an ongoing moral obligation to help address the
adverse impacts of nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands,” the letter states.
do not believe that any new Compact of Free Association can be considered fair
or equitable without fully addressing these issues in a way that is acceptable
to the Marshallese people.”
1946 and 1958, twenty-three nuclear tests were carried out on Bikini Atoll and
forty-four near Enewetak Atoll. The weapons tested had an estimated explosive
yield equivalent to one-point-seven times that of the bomb dropped on
Director of the Arms Control Association Daryl Kimball said the US needs to
acknowledge the crippling impact of these tests.
important to remember the past legacy of US nuclear weapons testing,” he said.
feel we have in the United States an enormous debt to pay for the devastating effects
of the 67 United States nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands.”
said the effects of the tests are still present within the Marshallese
nuclear testing has led to serious illnesses over time such as radiation poisoning,
elevated cancer rates, birth defects, and the contamination of food and water
sources continues to this day,” he said.
of the islands - Runit Island, where waste from the past nuclear test is
contained within a dome - has become completely uninhabitable.
of the islands in the Marshall Islands are still contaminated and some may not
be able to be fully restored. We have to remember that these islands are
low-lying, they're being affected by climate change and being battered by a
number of different forces."
activist groups' letter states that before the Compact can be renewed a number
of actions should be taken including:
claims of the Nuclear Claims Tribunal;
access to health care, especially for those with illnesses associated with
radiation exposure; and
declassification of all documents relating to the relocation of displaced
the first compact was signed in 1986 it was not clear the extent of the
devastation of the damage," Kimball said.
United States has not been as forthcoming as it needs to be about the
information to declassify a lot of the records that were late, and frankly the
Marshallese people - because of the economic hardships created in large part by
the history of the testing - they themselves don't have the technical capacity
to deal with these issues and so we see these issues persisting.
efforts need to be taken, additional resources need to be provided to
recompense for the damage to health, culture and the economy.”
said that an apology can't make up for the lives lost and the damage created by
the nuclear tests, but “It's the right thing to do,” he said.
would recognise the wrongs that were committed and teach future generations
that these wrongs can never be and should never be created.”