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Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day

NFIP Day, 2001


1 March 2001

Kia ora,

today is Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day. It is the 47th anniversary of the US 'Bravo' nuclear bomb detonation close to the surface of Bikini Atoll which gouged out a crater 240 feet deep and 6000 feet across, melted huge quantities of coral, sucked them up and distributed them far and wide across the Pacific.

The island of Rongelap (100 miles away) was buried in powdery particles of radioactive fallout to a depth of one and a half inches, and Utirik (300 miles away) was swathed in radioactive mist. The people of Rongelap and Utirik lived on their newly radioactive islands for three days, inhaling, touching and ingesting the fallout particles, until the US navy sent ships to evacuate them.

This is but one example of the horrific racist experiments that colonising governments have inflicted on the peoples of the Pacific, used as human guinea pigs in the insane and pointless pursuit of nuclear weapons supremacy.

Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day is a day to remember that the arrogant colonialist mindset which allowed, indeed encouraged, the devastation mentioned above continues today - the Pacific is still neither nuclear free nor independent.

Rather than write our own statement this year, we have decided to circulate the Peoples’ Charter for a Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific as some of you may not have seen it before. The original Charter was expanded in 1983, and it is the expanded version we include below. You can judge for yourself how many of the objectives have been achieved since 1983.

Kia manawanui, kia ü, kia kaha to all who are working for a nuclear free and independent Pacific.

______________________

The Peoples’ Charter for a Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific, NFIP, 1983.

Given the expansion of the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement as reflected in the name of this conference ...

Be it hereby resolved that the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Conference 1983 resolves to change the name of the Peoples’ Charter which defines the aims and goals of this movement to ‘The Peoples’ Charter for a Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific’.

Preamble

1. We, the people of the Pacific want to make our position clear.

We are rapidly regaining control of our lands, and the fact that we have inherited the basic administration system imposed upon us by alien imperialistic and colonial powers does not imply that we have to perpetuate them and the preferential racist policies that went with them.

2. We, the people of the Pacific have been victimised too long by foreign powers.

The western imperialistic and colonial powers invaded our defenceless region, they took over our lands and subjugated our people to their whims.

This form of alien colonial political and military domination unfortunately persists as an evil cancer in some of our native territories such as Tahiti, New Caledonia, Australia, New Zealand.

Our environment continues to be despoiled by foreign powers developing nuclear weapons for a strategy of warfare that has no winners, no liberators and imperils the survival of all humankind.

3. Our environment is further threatened by the continuing deployment of nuclear weaponry and nuclear arsenals in the so called strategic areas throughout the Pacific.

Only one nuclear submarine has to be lost in the sea, or one nuclear warhead dumped in our ocean from a stricken bomber and the threat to the fish, and our livelihood is endangered for centuries.

The erection of superports, military bases, and nuclear testing stations may bring employment, but the price is destruction of our customs, our way of life, the pollution of our crystal clear waters and brings the ever present threat of disaster and radioactive poisoning into the every day lives of the peoples.

4. We, the peoples of the Pacific reaffirm our intention to extract only those elements of Western civilisation that will be of permanent benefit to us.

We wish to control our destinies and protect our environment in our own ways.

The customary usage of our people in the days gone past were more than adequate to ensure the balance between nature and humankind.

No form of administration should ever seek to destroy that balance for the sake of brief commercial gain.

5. We note in particular the recent racist roots of the world’s nuclear powers and we call for an immediate end to the oppression, exploitation and subordination of the indigenous people of the Pacific.

6. We, the people of the Pacific will assert ourselves and wrest control over the destiny of our nations and our environment from foreign powers, including the Trans-National Corporations.

The Charter

We being inhabitants of the Pacific:

1. convinced that our peoples and our environment have been exploited enough by superpowers;

2. asserting that nuclear powers in the Pacific are operating here against our will, from territories administered or claimed by them as colonies;

3. believing that the political independence of all peoples is fundamental to attaining a Nuclear Free Pacific;

4. believing that nuclear tests in the Pacific and the resultant radiation constitute a threat to the health, livelihood and security of the inhabitants;

5. believing that nuclear tests and missile tests are the major means by which the armaments race maintains its momentum;

6. believing that the presence of nuclear weapons, nuclear reactors, nuclear powered vessels and nuclear wastes in the Pacific endangers the lives of the inhabitants;

7. recognising the urgent need for ending the use and manufacture of nuclear weapons;

8. desiring to contribute towards the ending of the armaments race;

9. and noting that a nuclear free zone is not an end in itself by only a step towards total, worldwide nuclear disarmament, have agreed as follows

10. Article 1 That a Pacific Nuclear Free Zone be declared, including all that area of the South Pacific bounded by the Tlatelolco (Latin America), Antarctic, Indian Ocean and ASEAN zones, and including all of Micronesia, Australia, the Philippines, Japan and Hawai’i;

11. Article 2 That the peoples and governments of the Pacific will not permit any of the following activities of installations within this zone:

a) all tests of nuclear explosive devices including those described as ‘peaceful’;

b) all nuclear weapon test facilities;

c) all tests of nuclear weapon delivery vehicles and systems;

d) all storage, transit, deployment or any other form of presence of nuclear weapons on land or aboard ships, submarines and aircraft within the zone;

e) all bases carrying out command, control, communication, surveillance, navigation and other functions which aid the performance of a nuclear weapon delivery system;

f) all nuclear power reactors, excepting very low capacity experimental units, all nuclear powered satellites, surface and sub-surface vessels and all transit, storage, release or dumping of radioactive material;

g) uranium mining, processing and transport;

12. Article 3 That the peoples and the governments within the zone will withdraw from all mutual defence alliances with nuclear powers;

13. Article 4 That the peoples and governments signatory to this Charter will work to ensure the withdrawal of colonial powers from the Pacific;

14. Article 5 that the peoples and government signatory to this Charter will meet at intervals of not more than three years to explore ways of extending the geographical extent of the zone and the comprehensiveness of the bans enforced within it;

Protocols to the Charter for a Nuclear Free Pacific

15. Protocol 1

i) The undersigned plenipotentiaries, furnished with full powers by their respective governments

ii) aware of the desire of Pacific people to gain political independence, and to remain free of risks associated with nuclear weapons, nuclear war and nuclear power

iii) have agreed to observe all the prohibitions and activities and installations associated with nuclear war and nuclear power as established in the Charter For a Nuclear Free Pacific zone

iv) and have further agreed to take immediate steps to grant political independence to territories and people at present governed by them within that zone.

16. Protocol 2

i) The undersigned plenipotentiaries, furnished with full powers by their respective governments

ii) have agreed as follows

A to respect all the prohibitions on activities and installations associated with nuclear war and nuclear power as established in the Charter for a Nuclear Free Pacific zone

B to permit at any time inspection by representatives of governments and people within the zone, of any buildings, installations, vehicles, ships, aircraft or submarines under their control to determine that the prohibitions of the charter are being complied with

C not to use or threaten the use of nuclear weapons against any territory or people within the zone.

Peoples’ Charter for a Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific, Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement Conference, Vanuatu, 1983.

Peace Movement Aotearoa the national networking peace group PO Box 9314, Wellington, Aotearoa / New Zealand. tel +64 4 382 8129, fax 382 8173, website Internet Peace Gateway


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