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The Marshall Islands - feeling the impact of nuclear tests and climate change


The Marshall Islands in the North Pacific has suffered from the catastrophic impact of 67 nuclear weapons tests (detonations) conducted in their islands from 1946-1962. These obliterated whole islands and spread radioactivity around the region that continues to cause cancers, birth deformities, still births, and other health impacts.

And they are now starting to suffer from climate change as high tides are beginning to wash completely over some of their islands. See A ground zero forgotten: The Marshall Islands, once a U.S. nuclear test site, face oblivion again, Washington Post, November 27, 2015).

The Marshall Islands is very small in population, low in finances and far from the major centres of power. Yet, their experience is compelling them to take action in major forums against nuclear weapons and for climate protection.
Today, 30 November 2015, the Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum and the people of the Marshall islands will receive the Right Livelihood Award in a ceremony at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm.

The award, otherwise known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Peace Prize’  is being given for leadership they have taken on the issues of climate change and nuclear disarmament, including the Nuclear Zero Case that the Marshall Islands has lodged in the International Court of Justice.

Last month Tony de Brum was awarded the Nuclear Free Future Award, another prestigious award, at a ceremony on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, hosted by Senator Ed Markey, Co-president of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), and two members of the US House of Representatives Barbara Lee and Jim McGovern.
Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, speaking about nuclear disarmament and climate change at the United Nations

Support the Nuclear Zero case in the International Court of Justice


The Right Livelihood Award and the Nuclear Free Future award recognise the case that the Marshall islands has lodged in the International Court of Justice against the nine nuclear armed States for their failure to implement nuclear disarmament obligations. The case is proceeding, at the moment, with respect to three of those countries – India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

The Marshall Islands has invited other governments to join them in the case – through the right of intervention (see Articles 62 and 63 of the ICJ Statute). Such interventions will be important to demonstrate to the Court that the failure of the nuclear-armed states to negotiate for nuclear disarmament is a concern of the international community, not just a concern of places like Marshall Islands that have been impacted by nuclear tests.

Please contact UNFOLD ZERO for details on how to encourage your government to intervene.
Copyright © 2015 UNFOLD ZERO


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