75th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima (August 6)

Indigenous peoples are still suffering from the consequences of the invention of the atomic bomb (Press Release)

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) would like to draw attention to the fact that many indigenous communities are still suffering from the dramatic consequences of the invention of the atomic bomb. In view of the catastrophic consequences of nuclear tests, the human rights organization emphasized that it is absolutely irresponsible of the United States to consider resuming nuclear tests. "Anyone who is informed about how the nuclear powers used indigenous communities as guinea pigs to test the effects of nuclear bombs must see the discussion about new nuclear tests as sheer cynicism," stated Ulrich Delius, the STP's Director, in Göttingen on Tuesday. Further, he stated that the nuclear tests are to be seen as one of the greatest crimes against humankind and the environment after the Second World War. The resulting nuclear waste dumps will still pose a serious threat to all mankind in thousands of years.

According to the STP, several indigenous communities are still suffering from serious health issues and from the ecological and social consequences of nuclear colonialism, especially on the Pacific Islands – but several indigenous communities and minority groups in Xinjiang in Northwest China, in Kazakhstan, Algeria, Australia, and in the West of the USA are have paid a high price for the nuclear arms race as well. "Thousands of people died an early death because they were exposed to radiation or due to the destruction of their livelihood. Most of the victims of nuclear tests were denied any insight into the background of their illnesses until they died," Delius criticized. Today, the way the nuclear powers treated their own population back then would be seen as a crime against humanity. However, the crimes were never legally punished. Most of the survivors are still waiting for adequate compensation for their suffering and the destruction of their natural environment.

It was only in July 2020 that France had again made the conditions for the compensation of nuclear test victims even more complicated. "It is scandalous that, 24 years after the end of the nuclear tests, France is not prepared to take full responsibility for the nuclear contamination of the indigenous Maohi people and their islands in the South Pacific," Delius criticized. Between 1966 and 1996, France carried out a total number of 193 nuclear tests in its overseas territories of French Polynesia. Due to large amounts of nuclear waste, the test islands of Moruroa and Fangataufa are still considered a security risk today.

The Marshall Islands in the Northwest Pacific, which are controlled by the United States, are still suffering from the nuclear tests as well. The indigenous communities are accusing the US government of deliberately withholding information from the island population about their exposure to nuclear waste. Various communities have been resettled several times under false pretenses and, thus, were exposed to radiation. Now, the Marshall Islands are putting pressure on the US government to increase its economic aid to help the suffering people. "The consequences of nuclear testing are horrendous. Anyone who considers new nuclear tests must be reminded of the ongoing suffering of the victims of the nuclear arms race," Delius emphasized.