As Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, I take this opportunity on behalf of the Forum to acknowledge the occasion of the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ Remembrance Day, and honour the victims and survivors of nuclear testing conducted in the Marshall Islands.
Today marks the 63rd anniversary of ‘Castle Bravo’, the detonation of a thermonuclear hydrogen bomb in the Bikini Atoll. It was an inhabited area. That detonation and the others that followed caused indescribable suffering to the people of the Marshall Islands, and devastation to its environment. The damage continues to affect the health and well-being of our brothers and sisters in the Marshall Islands, and will do so for many generations to come.
On this occasion, I would like to reiterate the long-standing support of the Pacific Islands Forum for the people of the Marshall Islands in their quest to obtain fair compensation from the United States of America for the ongoing damage caused by nuclear testing. We stand in solidarity with you and will continue to advocate for a just resolution to Marshall Islands claims in relation to the legacy of nuclear testing.
The terrible events of Bikini Atoll will of course not be forgotten by the people of the Marshall Islands, but I want to ensure that they are also not forgotten by our wider Pacific family. Our young have inherited a nuclear weapons free Pacific fought for by Forum Leaders. And so on Remembrance Day, I encourage us not to forget our history. In this way we work to ensure that future attempts to bring nuclear weapons into our region will be met with determined resistance by the Pacific region.