28 Jul 2003

Nuclear test site veterans in French Polynesia demand state recognition of health problems

9:21 am on 28 July 2003

Hundreds of veterans of the French nuclear weapons test sites have held a march in the French Polynesian capital, Papeete, to demand that the state recognise their health problems.

The veterans association, Mururoa o Tatou, delivered its request for truth and justice to the French High Commission.

It coincided with a visit to the territory by French President, Jacques Chirac, who resumed nuclear testing in the Pacific in 1995 before ending the programme a year later.

The Association's President, Roland Oldham, says a new law granting access to servicemens' files, only applies to mainland France.

"In America, in the States, and even the British have recognised that the nuclear tests have done damage to the health of the people and they have put together some kind of compensation system and reparation...so why can't the French do that?"