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Fiji’s ratification of the Treaty of Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is a milestone achievement not only for Fiji, but for the rest of the Pacific and the world.
It comes after five long decades of grassroots activism from women’s, church, teachers, unions, students and pan-Pacific organisations, joined in steadfastly rejecting the effects of nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific.
“It is a historical journey for our region, and this achievement acknowledges early Pacific movements such as the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) movement and the call by our leaders as per the Rarotonga Treaty of 2012 which stand as reminders against nuclear testing in the Pacific, said Youngsolwara Pacific representative, Mere Tuilau.
“The NFIP movement has inspired the younger generation of today to continue to push the rest of our Pacific Island states such as the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Australia to sign and ratify the Treaty. On that note, we warmly congratulate Fiji for ratifying the Treaty and delighted that they have deposited their instrument of the ratification at the UN.”
While Fiji was depositing its instruments for ratification at the UN in New York, the Youngsolwara movement symbolically deposited 10 copies of Elimoñdik which is a children’s storybook at the University of South Pacific Library to continue efforts to educate our young people on the history of nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands and its lasting legacy in the Pacific.
The Treaty recognises that the planet and its peoples cannot survive any nuclear weapons conflict, and also no country can survive any use of a nuclear weapon or nuclear accidents.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), binds each state party to assist victims affected with medical care, rehabilitation and psychological support, as well as provide social and economic inclusion. In fulfilment of its obligation, a state party shall have the right to seek and receive assistance where feasible from other state Parties.
The legacy of nuclear testing in the Pacific continues to threaten not just Pacific islanders and the Pacific Ocean, but the health and wellbeing of all the planet’s oceans and the people who depend upon them. Just as the Pacific and the world have come together to bring the TPNW treaty into the existence, so we call for solidarity to deal with the pressing issues of our time, namely the climate emergency and seabed mining, a new industry threat to oceans.
“For many in the Pacific, memories of the impact of nuclear weapons testing still exist, its legacies continue, and the Pacific-wide solidarity that started in Fiji carries lessons for the world,” PIANGO Executive Director Emeline Ilolahia said.
This year also marks the 62nd anniversary of nine atomic and hydrogen bomb tests (Operation Grapple) conducted at Malden Island and Kiritmati Island between 1957 and 1958 that our soldiers and dignitaries were unfairly exposed to.
Fiji is the 39th State to ratify the treaty, joining the 5 Pacific Island States notably Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Palau, Samoa and Kiribati. 11 more States are needed to bring the TPNW into force.
SOURCE: YOUNGWANSOLWARA PACIFIC/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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