16 May 2005

Former Marshalls Senator appeals to world to lift burden of nuclear legacy

7:09 am on 16 May 2005

A former Senator in the Marshall Islands has called on the international community to "extend its hands" to help his people extricate themselves from the legacy of the nuclear age.

Tony de Brum of the Lolelaplap Trust has told a United Nations conference on the spread of nuclear weapons that the world must help his country lift the burden of having been the testing ground for weapons of mass destruction.

Mr de Brum said a relatively small number of world leaders and decision makers did not have the right to destroy the well-being and livelihood of any society in the name of global security.

"I witnessed, and was just nine years old, when I experienced the infamous Bravo shot, that terrorised our community, and traumatised our society to an extent that few people in the world can imagine."

Mr de Brum said America's nuclear history in the Marshall Islands had been coloured with official denial, self-serving control of information, and abrogation of commitment to redress what he called shameful wrongs.