BAN PLUTONIUM SHIPMENTS IN PACIFIC

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NUCLEAR FREE AND INDEPENDENT PACIFIC 8th NFIP Conference Arue, Tahiti

MEDIA RELEASES September 25, 1999

The 8th Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) in Arue, Tahiti has demanded a ban on all nuclear waste shipments through Pacific Island countries, ocean and airspace.

And a resolution was passed to lobby for the strengthening of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Rarotonga, which the conference states is not strong enough to disallow high level waste shipments through the Pacific Islands Exclusive Economic Zone.

The Japanese government was condemned for its "irresponsible Plutonium plan, which is causing potentially hazardous effects on our environment and nuclear arms proliferation problems."

The conference has called for the immediate halt in the reprocessing of Japanese spent nuclear fuel and fabrication of MOX fuels in the United Kingdom and France, and other countries.

The conference stated that it was "deeply concerned that a commercial shipment of MOX nuclear weapons usable plutonium fuel is now taking place and more are planned for the future by Japan, U.K. and France through our Pacific Ocean, which is extremely dangerous to our lives and environment.

 

ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIC MODELS WANTED FOR PACIFIC COMMUNITIES

The 8th NFIP conference in Arue, Tahiti has urged Pacific governments to take into consideration the social consequences of liberal economic policies and has called on Pacific Non-Government Organizations and Institutions to look into alternative economic models pertinent to the social structures of Pacific communities.

Participants from 25 countries of the Pacific region resolved to strengthen the capacity of Pacific peoples to sustainability and self-reliance, elaborate the principles of Pacific regional integration and advocate for the protection of all indigenous knowledge and property.

The conference has also undertaken to look into the possibility of a single currency for the Pacific region and urge Pacific peoples to support local industries and locally made products.

"The 8th NFIP conference fears that only a few will profit from globalization and free trade whilst the large majority of Pacific peoples will be impoverished and left with depleted resources, stolen knowledge and suppressed cultural values," the conference statement said.

The conference stated that local economies should be strengthened and be the basis of economic development in the Pacific. "The resources unique to the Pacific should be identified and exploited in a way that guarantees the sustainable use of these resources to the present and future generations of the Pacific. Regional cooperation is a pre-requisite to strengthen the bargaining power of the Pacific States in international trade negotiations."

Land and indigenous knowledge and property were to be protected at all costs.

"Land is the basis of Pacific cultures and economies. We should look after our land at all costs thus the indigenous economic value of land should be the basis of any development."

"The Indigenous knowledge and property should be protected against foreign patenting and should be economically exploited in such a manner that the rightful owners of this knowledge be equitably compensated and their knowledge protected."

 

RE-LIST SOME PACIFIC COUNTRIES ON UN DECOLONIZATION LIST

The 8th Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) Movement conference in Arue, Tahiti has called for the re-listing of French Polynesia, Hawai’i, West Papua, Easter Island and Bougainville on the United Nations Special Committee’s list of Non-Self Governing territories to be decolorized.

"We want to emphasize the rights of all peoples, especially colonized peoples, to self-determination and independence. It is only when this fundamental human right is recognized and practiced can we really start talking about the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States," a conference statement read.

The oldest network of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Pacific region also pledged its support for a Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples within the UN system.

And the United Nations has been urged to do all that is practicable to assist the soon to be independent state of Timor Lorosai, rebuild its infrastructure and take its rightful place in the United Nations and the Alliance of Small Island States.

Formed in 1975, the NFIP Movement unites community based and non-government organizations from 25 countries around the Pacific region. More than 150 representatives of church groups, independence movements, land rights activists, women’s rights campaigners, environmental groups and peace movements attended the Tahiti conference, which closed on Friday, September 24.

In a statement to be delivered at the UN General Assembly Special Session on Small Island Developing States on September 28, the conference expressed concern at the systematic roll back of what little concessions small island developing states were able to squeeze out of the Barbados Programme of Action in 1994.

"We are concerned that paragraph 24 c(iii) of the Barbados Programme of Action that "accepts the right of small island developing states to regulate, restrict and/or ban the importation of products containing non-biodegradable and/or hazardous substances and to prohibit the trans-boundary movement of hazardous wastes and materials within their jurisdiction consistent with international law" is no longer acceptable to the international community," the Conference statement read.

"Because of this roll-back, we feel that small islands non-self governing territories must go back to the drawing board and reassert what little rights they have."

The conference also called on the UN General Assembly to affirm that the "technology, knowledge and customary and traditional practices of local and indigenous peoples, including resource owners and custodians are adequately and effectively protected and that they thereby benefit directly on an equitable basis and on mutually agreed terms from any utilization of such technologies, knowledge and practices or from technological development derived there from."

The NFIP Movement stated that the Barbados program was becoming a ‘distant memory’ and has not made a significant difference in the co-operation of the international community with small island developing states.

Over five days, the conference participants discussed the Struggle for Self-Determination and Independence in the New Millennium, Conserving the Environment for Our children, The New Arms Race in the Pacific, Human Rights and Good Governance and Globalization and its Impact on the Pacific.

The conference was hosted by Tavini Huiraatira, the largest pro-independence political party in French Polynesia. The pro-independence movement this week received encouragement and support from the Evangelical Church of French Polynesia.

The President of the Church, Jacques Ihorai, made an unprecedented declaration that the church supports the right of the Maohi people to decide their own future. This has caused great concern in French government circles and a major boost for the pro-independence forces in French Polynesia. Tavini Huiraatira leader, Oscar Temaru said the show of support by the church was a "miracle" and a "statement of war" by the church to France in support of independence.

For additional information, contact: Stanley Simpson TEL: 689 413694 or 413696 or PCRC Suva, Fiji Islands TEL: 679 304 649

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