World marks Nuclear Free & Independent Pacific Day
World marks Nuclear Free & Independent Pacific (NFIP) Day
Peace activitists and liberation movements the world over today (Friday 1 March) commemorate Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) Day.
NFIP Day marks the day on March 1 1954 when the US conducted the world's most powerful hydrogen bomb test, code-named Bravo, on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Radiation from the test forced the evacuation of Marshallese and US Military personnel on nearby atolls and those exposed to the radioactive fallout suffered severe health problems.
Half a century later, the legacies of the test live on with atolls still uninhabitable, a high incidence of cancer-related deaths in the region and radioactive illnesses passing on through the generations. Today, while the Marshallese petition for increased compensation, the US continues to use the North Pacific nation as a testing ground for new weapons of mass destruction.
The NFIP Movement commemorates this day of destruction to call for an end to all nuclear activities and militarism in the Pacific, to advocate against all forms of injustice, exploitation and subjugation, and to highlight the region's struggle for self determination and peace.
As the secretariat for the NFIP Movement, the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC) is concerned with increased militarism in the region in response to internal conflicts, in addition to the ever present threats from foreign nuclear and biological warfare.
As PCRC Assistant Director for Demilitarisation, Ema G. Tagicakibau, said: "We must continue to be vigilant by monitoring current threats and highlighting past abuses that serve as painful lessons, in order to reclaim the Pacific for our future generations."
Events planned to mark NFIP Day include:
a.. In the Marshall Islands, a Japanese delegation coordinated by the Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo), which includes a survivor from a Japanese fishing vessel working in the vicinity of Bikini at the time of Bravo, will join Bikinians in their annual commemoration ceremony.
b.. In Japan about 1000 activists from Japan, the US and the Marshall Islands will rally for peace and nuclear disarmament. Rufo Lujan, Guam independence activist and PCRC/NFIP executive board member, will join them for a conference organised by Japan Gensuikyo to discuss disarmament, the denuclearisation of the Pacific and solidarity of nuclear victims.
c.. In Guam, activists led by Mr Lujan will push for the introduction into the Guam Legislature of a resolution declaring 1 March Nuclear Free Day. Legislators will also be pressured to introduce a bill declaring Guam a nuclear free zone.
d.. In Melbourne, Australia, a meeting will be held at the Victorian Trades Hall Council to discuss US plans on Ballistic Missile Defence, and how they will affect the Asia-Pacific region.
e.. In Wellington, New Zealand, a reception and showing of "Copenhagen", an award winning play that examines the ethics of nuclear research with its potential of world destruction;
f.. In Hawaii, the Micronesians United will hold a rally at Old Stadium Park, followed by a service and candlelight vigil to remember past and current victims of BRAVO;
g.. In Nevada, USA, the Shundahai Network will make plans for further non-violent action camps at the Nevada test site against US nuclear explosions on the native Newe land;
PCRC acknowledges all the messages of peace and solidarity received from individual members, affiliates and friends of the NFIP Movement, including :
a.. the Intenational Peace Bureau in Geneva;
b.. the Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs;
c.. the Shundahai Network and Nuclear Free Great Basin Campaign (US) based in Salt Lake city, which supports the indigenous Newe people in opposition to US nuclear tests in Nevada;
d.. Canada-based Board and staff of Pacific People's Partnership;
e.. the Parliament of Rapa Nui,
f.. Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
g.. Vanuatu-based PIANGO;
h.. Nuclear Free Phillipines and Women Network Opposed to U.S.Troops
PCRC pays tribute to all those activists struggling for peace and justice all over the world, and in particular the struggle for self-determination in the Pacific region. We remember those who have died as a result of nuclear radiation poisoning in Micronesia, Christmas Island or other parts of the region and the world, and for those who, even today, continue to suffer the legacies passed down through the generations. It is for them, for us and for our future generations, that the struggle must go on. We join other voices in calling for a halt to all nuclear testing in the region and the world.
For more information please contact Ema G. Tagicakibau or Hannah Harborow at the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre on Tel: (679) 304 649.