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Marshall Islands takes on the nuclear-armed states, for all our sakes via Greenpeace International

Read more“The day the sun rose twice”. That’s how 1 March 1954 was recorded in the history of Rongelap, a tiny atoll in the Pacific Ocean, part of the Marshall Islands. Early that morning, shortly after the sun rose in the east, a second sun appeared in the west. A bright, blinding glow engulfed the Island.

Unknown to the islanders on Rongelap, some 150 kilometers away, at Bikini Atoll, the United States had just set off a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb. Codenamed “Bravo”, its destructive force was a thousand times greater than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.
For years after the test, many of the women who were exposed to the radiation suffered reproductive problems. Many others since have developed thyroid and other cancers. In 1985, the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior helped to relocate the islanders to another home.
This was to become the Rainbow Warrior’s last mission. From Rongelap, the Warrior continued to New Zealand where it was bombed by the French secret service in an attempt to prevent Greenpeace from protesting against a French nuclear test at Moruroa.
While atmospheric nuclear testing has since been stopped, a number of governments are still maintaining and modernising extensive nuclear arsenals. There have been numerous nuclear near-misses in several countries, and instances where nuclear weapons were almost launched based on false information, or misjudgment.
As long as nuclear weapons exist, there is a risk of their accidental or deliberate use. With over 17,000 nuclear weapons in existence, that risk is a lot bigger than many people imagine.
“Never Again”
The Republic of the Marshall Islands recently launched a bold legal action against the nine nuclear-armed states before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). They’re taking the nuclear weapons states to task for failing to eliminate this danger that threatens us all.
Between 1946 and 1958, the US conducted 67 nuclear weapons tests in the Marshalls – described as ‘by far the most contaminated place in the world’. Having seen their land, sea and people poisoned by radiation, the islanders are now standing up to the nine nuclear giants to say, “Never again.”
The Marshall Islanders argue that the nine states are required under international law to enter into serious negotiations towards total nuclear disarmament but that, to date, they have failed to do so.

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