UN Human Rights Council: 21st Session
Speaker: NAPF Geneva Representative, Christian N. Ciobanu
13 September 2012
Agenda Item 3: Cluster ID with Special Rapporteur on Hazardous Substances and Waste
Click here to read NAPF’s supplementary written statement

Dear Madame President,

A nuclear explosion on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall IslandsThe Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) welcomes the report by the Special Rapporteur on Hazardous Substances and Waste in which he elaborates upon the conditions and consequences of the nuclear fallout in the Marshall Islands from U.S. nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands, an island country composed of 34 coral atolls.

As a traditional island nation, the Marshallese enjoyed a self-sufficient sustainable way of life before nuclear weapons testing. U.S. compensation and remediation has been insufficient to fully attend to the healthcare and socioeconomic needs of the Marshallese people.

Madame President,

Due to the inadequate response from the U.S. government, it has been difficult for the Republic of the Marshall Islands to uphold the indigenous people’s human rights related to environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and waste.  These rights include the following:

1. Right to adequate health and life

2. Right to adequate food and nutrition

3. Right to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation

4. Right to the enjoyment of a safe, clean and healthy sustainable environment

These rights are elaborated in the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights obligations related to environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and waste as contained in A/HRC/21/48.

Because there are persisting unresolved problems related to the U.S. government’s treatment of the indigenous citizens of the Marshall Islands, NAPF aligns itself with the U.N. Special Rapporteur’s suggestion that the international community, the United States, and the Government of the Marshall Islands must develop long term strategic measures to address the effects of the nuclear testing program and specific challenges in each atoll. As such, it is imperative that the U.S. government and the international community implement human rights measures to provide adequate redress to the citizens of the Marshall Islands.

Thank you, Madame President.