26 March 2012

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights to visit Marshall Islands to assess impact of nuclear testing

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

First fact- mission by UN human rights expert on hazardous waste

GENEVA (21 March 2012) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Calin Georgescu will visit the Marshall Islands from 26 to 30 March 2012 to assess the impact on human rights of the nuclear tests conducted by the United States between 1946 and 1958, in what is the first ever visit to the country by an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council.

“I will assess the efforts undertaken by the governments of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and of the United States of America to eliminate or mitigate the negative effects of the testing on the Marshallese population,” said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights obligations related to environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and waste.

“This visit will give my mandate the chance to gather lessons learnt in this field of nuclear testing and ensure accountability in such cases,” Mr. Georgescu said. “It will also be an exceptional opportunity to assess how the Marshallese peoples’ basic rights including the right to food, adequate housing and health have been affected.”

During his four-day mission, the independent expert will hold meetings with several stakeholders, including government officials and civil society organizations. Based on information gathered during the visit, the Special Rapporteur will prepare a report containing its conclusions and recommendations to present to the Human Rights Council in September 2012.

A press briefing will be held on Friday 30 March 2012 at 12:00 pm at the Marshall Island resort in Majuro.

Calin Georgescu, the Executive Director of the National Centre for Sustainable Development in Bucharest (Romania), was appointed Special Rapporteur in 2011 by the Human Rights Council. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, log on to:http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/environment/waste/index.htm



Scientists declare Rongelap safe for habitation

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 25, 2012) – The mayor of Rongelap Atoll in the Marshall Islands says a lot of people are excited about resettling to Rongelap after being forced to evacuate nearly 30 years ago due to the effects of nuclear testing.

In 1954 the United States detonated a nuclear bomb on neighbouring Bikini atoll and radioactive fallout landed on Rongelap atoll.

Following ongoing health issues the Rongelapese evacuated in 1985 and relocated elsewhere in the Marshall Islands.

The major James Matayoshi says scientists have declared it safe now and there are already about 70 people on the island, including workers who are building 40 new homes.

"There are excitement among the community members especially those who live on Majeto island that they would like to resettle and a lot of factors on people deciding whether to resettle or not and one of the main factors is all the conveniences are there."
James Matayoshi says there’s no set date for resettlement and it’s up to individuals whether they want to return.

See also:
 Marshall Islands criticizes U.S. over nuclear compensation

Marshall Islands Requests Radiation Monitors in Wake of Continuing Radioactivity Release in Japan

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