8 Dec 2008

For third year no compensation for Marshall Islands nuclear test victims

4:13 pm on 8 December 2008

For the third year in a row, the Majuro-based Nuclear Claims Tribunal will not issue any compensation payments despite owing more than two billion US dollars in already approved awards to Marshall Islanders.

With its compensation fund nearly exhausted, Tribunal officials say not

only is it impossible to make even a token payment this year, but this further confirms the inadequacy of U.S.-provided compensation for nuclear test victims.

Marshall Islands President Litokwa Tomeing has stepped up pressure on

U.S. government officials, seeking endorsement of a plan to use U.S. grant

funding to provide $1.2 million annually for Marshall Islanders with

approved, but not paid, personal injury awards.

Tribunal officials say nearly half of the 2,000 islanders who've been awarded nuclear test compensation from the Tribunal have died without receiving 100 percent of their awards.

The Tribunal was established in the late 1980s by a Compact of Free

Association between the U.S. and the Marshall Islands with the mandate to

adjudicate and compensate personal injury and other claims arising from the

67 American nuclear tests at Bikini and Enewetak.

It says no existing awards will be paid this year, and new awards will be limited to five percent of the total award due because of the limited compensation funding left.