15 January 2013

Call Made To Declassify French Polynesia Nuclear Test Papers

Veterans’ groups requests for access denied since 2003

Radio New Zealand International

French Polynesia’s nuclear test veterans organization says the French commission in charge of the defense secret has recommended that 58 documents about the impact of the weapons tests be declassified.

The organization and its French sister body, AVEN, want the full reports of the agencies in charge of radiological safety and biological control during the tests in the South Pacific from 1966 to 1996.
Moruroa e tatou says the request for access to the documents dates back to 2003 but after it had been rejected in 2010, it appealed its case in the French Supreme Court, which it says is the last stop before reaching the European Human Rights Court.

The organization says this could have shaken up the defense ministry which is keen to prevent an internationalization of France’s nuclear weapons test file as was the case in 1972 when Australia and New Zealand took the practice of atmospheric testing to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Three years ago, a bid by French Polynesia’s territorial assembly to get access to classified material was rejected by the then defense minister, Herve Morin.

He explained his rejection by saying detailed descriptions contained in the files could be of use to countries which are trying to develop nuclear weapons.