French Polynesia church wants UN action over nuke test legacy

A French atomic bomb test above the atoll of Mururoa in French Polynesia in 1971. Picture: RNZ

NEW YORK,17 OCTOBER 2018 (RNZ PACIFIC) – French Polynesia’s main church says it wants the United Nations Human Rights Council to look at the legacy of France’s nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific.

The Maohi Protestant church announced its intention during last week’s UN decolonisation debate during which France was criticised for carrying out 193 weapons tests at Moruroa and Fangataufa.

The New York meeting was also told that a complaint for alleged crimes against humanity was lodged with the International Criminal Court at the beginning of the month.

The Maohi Protestant Church says knowing of the impact of nuclear testing before 1963, France proceeded with the tests in French Polynesia, qualifying this as a crime against humanity.

The decolonisation effort is being supported by the Pacific Council of Churches as well as the World Council of Churches.

The WCC says French Polynesian authorities are prevented from signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which seeks to eliminate the weapons which have caused so much suffering for so many people in the region.

France refuses to recognise the UN decision of 2013 to reinscribe French Polynesia on the list of non-self-governing territories and boycotts UN discussions on the topic.