Marshall Islands awarded for stance against nuclear powers

1:11 pm on 2 October 2015

The Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands is reiterating his call for the nuclear powers to honour their promise to disarm all weapons of mass destruction.

Tony de Brum

Tony de Brum Photo: AFP

Tony de Brum made the statement on behalf of the people of the Marshall Islands after being awarded the alternate Nobel prize.

It was awarded in recognition of their courage to take legal action against the nuclear powers for failing to honour their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Mr de Brum's Nuclear Zero Lawsuit against the USA was dismissed in February by the federal court on constitutional grounds, but the Marshalls foreign minister is appealing against the decision, saying his country will use every legal avenue to see that nuclear superpowers honour their disarmament obligations.

"They see the reasonable goal that we have set for ourselves in bringing this matter to the court and I think that that in itself is a great honour. Both climate change and nuclear weapons can be the demise of mankind and the more people who speak up against it, the better of we all will be."

Speaking about this year's awards in Stockholm, the executive director of the Society for the Right Livelihood Award, Ole von Uexkull, said the laureates stood up for our right to live in a world free from the scourges of war and climate chaos.

The Marshall Islands still has cases pending against Britain, India and Pakistan at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The Awards will be presented at a ceremony in Stockholm on November the 30th, hosted by the Society for the Right Livelihood Award in the Swedish Parliament.

The Right Livelihood Award was set up in 1980 by Jakob von Uexkull who felt that the Nobel Prize categories were too narrow in scope and too concentrated on the interests of the industrialised countries to be an adequate answer to the challenges now facing humanity.

The 2014 prize was awarded to the American whisteblower, Edward Snowden, who has been unable to travel to Sweden to receive it.

Nuclear test explosion at Bikini Atoll for Operation Crossroads, Marshall Islands, 1945/6

Nuclear test at Bikini Atoll for Operation Crossroads, Marshall Islands Photo: Supplied

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs