PCRC CELEBRATES February 28, 2001

PACIFIC CONCERNS RESOURCE CENTRE (PCRC) Suva, Fiji Islands

MEDIA RELEASE February 27, 2001

PCRC CELEBRATES NUCLEAR FREE AND INDEPENDENT PACIFIC DAY

Thursday, March 1st is Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) Day. The day commemorates the biggest ever day of destruction in Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, when the US military detonated the most powerful hydrogen bomb code named 'Bravo', the biggest bomb ever tested on earth's surface, on March 1, 1954.

The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC), the secretariat for the NFIP Movement, will be having an Open Day to mark the event, as a reminder and call that Pacific Islanders must always continue the struggle to be nuclear free, and that independence is vital for a sustainable future for the Pacific region.

Former Fiji Deputy Prime Minister, and the first woman in Fiji's history to act as Prime Minister, Mrs. Taufa Vakatale, will give the keynote address at the NFIP Day on the theme 'Why the Pacific Must Remain Nuclear Free'.

Mrs. Vakatale, as Minister for Education, Women, Culture and Social Welfare, led a large protest march through Suva on Bastille Day, July 1995, against the resumption of French nuclear testing in the Pacific. She subsequently lost her Cabinet portfolio after she voted against French nuclear testing in the Fiji Parliament. She was re-appointed Cabinet Minister after a few months.

Also speaking during the day will be prominent Pacific activist, Amelia Rokotuivuna, the President of the Fiji Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA).

Unsuspecting Marshallese Islanders exposed to radiation from the blast on March 1, 1954 experienced severe health problems within days. There has continued to be a high incidence of breast and tumor cancer, and reproduction complications among Marshallese women since the blast. Children continue to be born deformed and retarded in the aftermath. Radiation from the nuclear test forced the evacuation of Marshallese Islanders from their homeland of Rongelap, Rongerik, Utirik and Ailinginae atolls.

Students from secondary schools and tertiary institutions, NGOs, Diplomatic Missions, and government representatives have been invited to the event which begins at 9:00 a.m.

For more information please contact Stanley Simpson on Phone: 304 649, Fax: 304 755, e-mail: pcrc@is.com.fj 

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