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The Pacific: Nuclear Testing and Minorities

19 January 1991

The Pacific Ocean covers a third of the earth’s surface and is home to eight million people. Today it is an increasingly poisoned environment – perceived by outside powers as making it ideal for the testing, storage and disposal of weapons of mass destruction.

The Pacific: Nuclear Testing and Minorities details the horrific costs of nuclear testing on peoples and the environment. Entire populations have had to be removed from areas near testing sites because of radioactive contamination, which is now entering the Pacific food chain. When compensation has been made available, it has been delayed and inadequate. Yet France continues to regularly test nuclear weapons underground in Polynesia.

This report, written by Erich Weingartner, shows how Pacific island peoples are, effectively, powerless minorities, without control over the decisions which affect their lives. But they are fighting back – against militarization, foreign domination and ecological destruction. The Pacific: Nuclear Testing and Minorities is essential reading for all those interested in minorities, human rights and the environment.

Please note that the terminology in the fields of minority rights and indigenous peoples’ rights has changed over time. MRG strives to reflect these changes as well as respect the right to self-identification on the part of minorities and indigenous peoples. At the same time, after over 50 years’ work, we know that our archive is of considerable interest to activists and researchers. Therefore, we make available as much of our back catalogue as possible, while being aware that the language used may not reflect current thinking on these issues.

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Erich Weingartner