World Council of Churches
2-8 November 2018
Doc. No. 03.7
Minute on the Impacts of Nuclear Weapons Testing in French Polynesia (Maòhi Nui), and decolonization
The World Council of Churches has long supported the advocacy and engagement of the Maòhi Protestant Church for justice and compensation for the lingering health and environmental consequences of the French nuclear weapon testing programme conducted in their region. This engagement is an inspiration for and expression of the shared ecumenical commitment to the global elimination of nuclear weapons, now reflected in the form of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, for the signature and ratification of which the WCC actively advocates.
The injustice perpetrated on the people of Maòhi Nui through exposure to fallout and other contamination from 193 nuclear weapon tests conducted over 30 years until 1996 has much to do with the system and attitudes of colonial dominion. The WCC central committee had explicitly supported the 2013 re-inscription of French Polynesia on the UN decolonization list, considering the removal of this territory from that list in 1947 to have perpetuated a continuing injustice.
The WCC executive committee, meeting in Uppsala, Sweden, 2-8 November 2018, lifts up and affirms the Maòhi Protestant Church’s longstanding commitment and persistent witness for justice, including recent advocacy initiatives taken in the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly, and with relevant UN human rights accountability mechanisms.
We request the general secretary to continue to provide support and accompaniment to the Maòhi Protestant Church in its ministry of caring for those suffering the health consequences of nuclear testing, and in its witness for justice and peace, and to further strengthen WCC’s efforts for the elimination of nuclear weapons globally in light of nuclear rearmament by several nations and the increasing threat of nuclear conflict. In particular, we ask the general secretary to explore possibilities for organizing a Pilgrim Team Visit to Pacific island nations and territories affected by nuclear weapon testing programmes, including French Polynesia (Maòhi Nui).