Pacific Islands leading the way

The Pacific has a unique voice to add to the calls for the ban on nuclear weapons, as we have a unique and toxic history with these weapons.

From 1946 to 1996, some 300 nuclear test explosions were conducted in the Pacific. Their impact on the fragile ecology of the region and the health and mental well-being of its peoples has been profound and long-lasting. Pacific islanders continue to experience epidemics of cancers, chronic diseases and congenital abnormalities as a result of the radioactive fallout that blanketed their homes and the vast Pacific Ocean, upon which they depend for their livelihoods.

Pacific nations have also consistently voiced strong support for the adoption of a treaty that places nuclear weapons on the same legal footing as other weapons of mass destruction, which have long been banned.

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Banning nuclear weapons: a Pacific Islands priority

This report was launched at the United Nations in March 2017, as nations began negotiating a treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

Watch the presentation of the Indigenous Statement

Karina Lester, Yankunytjatjara-Anangu woman from South Australia, presented the Statement to the UN ban negotiations on behalf of 35 groups worldwide.

Watch Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner’s poem “Monster”

This powerful new work from the Marshallese poet was filmed in Hiroshima and dedicated in support of the nuclear ban treaty negotiations.



Pacific Island campaigners at the UN ban treaty negotiations

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Abacca is a former Senator for the Marshall Islands. She was born on Rongelap, an island within the Marshall Islands that will remain uninhabitable for generations due to radioactive contamination caused by nuclear testing. In 2014, Abacca travelled to Vienna to speak alongside Sue Coleman-Haseldine at the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. In 2016, Abacca and Sue came together again for a speaking tour in four Australian cities. Abacca is attending the 2017 UN conference to negotiate a legally binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Abacca continues to raise awareness on the impacts of nuclear testing and climate change in the Pacific.
Watch Abacca deliver ICAN’s final statement after the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.


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Roland participated in his first nuclear testing demonstration at Moruroa, aged sixteen in 1966. Roland spent many years advocating for land and cultural rights alongside Indigenous people in New Zealand and Australia before settling in Tahiti. Roland became the co-founder of the South Pacific Council of Trade Unions (SPOCTU) and then a co-founder of the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations (PIANGO), in 1995. More recently, Roland co-founded and become president of Moruroa e Tatou: an association for the survivors and veterans of the French nuclear tests. The group now has 3400 members. Roland is passionate about making amends for the suffering of the victims of nuclear testing.
Read Roland’s statement to the UN ban treaty negotiations.


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Vanessa Griffen was born in Suva, Fiji. She became aware of the environmental and genetic impacts of radioactivity from French nuclear weapons testing in French Polynesia as a student at the University of the South Pacific. She joined the anti-nuclear movement ATOM (Against Testing on Mururoa) and helped form the early Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific network. Concurrently, she was part of the Pacific women’s movement which was always against nuclear weapons testing and for a peaceful Pacific.
Vanessa joined ICAN via FemLINK Pacific, attended the Mexico and Vienna conferences and encourages Pacific states in the UN to use the Pacific’s nuclear history to work for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
Watch Vanessa’s statement to the UN ban treaty negotiations.



Pacific Island contributions to the United Nations ban treaty negotiations 2017

Working Paper: Papua New Guinea; Possible elements for a nuclear-weapon-ban-treaty

Statement: Fiji

Statement: Marshall Islands

Statement: New Zealand

Statement: Papua New Guinea




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