DECISION AWAITED REGARDING 1950S CHRISTMAS ISLAND NUCLEAR TEST COMPENSATION

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SUVA, Fiji (May 13, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---Families of soldiers exposed to British nuclear testing on Christmas Island in Kiribati in the late 1950s are likely to receive compensation if the European Court of Human Rights rules in their favor.

The soldiers, most now deceased, included test veterans from Fiji, Britain and New Zealand, Island Networks Corporation reports.

The case is part of a campaign conducted by the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association on behalf of victims, their children and grandchildren. It was first heard by the European Court of Human Rights in France last November, during which New York lawyer Ian Anderson represented the Test Veterans before 26 international judges. He argued that there were violations of various articles of the European Convention of Human Rights by the United Kingdom when it conducted the tests.

Following the hearing, the Human Rights Commission found the UK violated the convention and recommended the payment of compensation.

The court is due to make a decision later this month, based on the Commission's recommendations.

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