14 Apr 2009

Nuclear testing group in French Polynesia calls for Pacific support

7:20 am on 14 April 2009

The president of the group representing victims of nuclear testing in French Polynesia is calling for backing from all Pacific organisations against a French compensation law.

France's Minister of Defence recently outlined the main points of a proposed Bill to compensate, for the first time, victims of nuclear testing it conducted both in Algeria and later in French Polynesia, between 1966 and 1996.

Mururoa e Tatou's Roland Oldham says the law is too narrow in its application and the amount of compensation to be awarded too little.

He says it's simply a way of deflecting media attention from the French government's April 27 court hearing, when it faces charges of failing to protect its French Polynesian workers from nuclear test fallout.

"It is not easy for us to battle against super power like France but we are actually asking for solidarity from everyone in the Pacific from different organisations. I think if different organisations can do something like send messages to the French government about this compensation law, that also will be a help to us."

Roland Oldham of Mururoa e Tatou.