4 Sep 2003

Marshall Islands nuclear victims protest at US embassy

3:49 pm on 4 September 2003

Victims of US nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands have demonstrated outside the US embassy in Majuro.

They have called on the US to continue funding health care, nuclear clean-up and compensation programs that are to be cut off at the end of the month.

The Marshall Islands government three years ago filed a petition with US congress seeking more than 2 billion US dollars in additional compensation.

But while the US Congress has yet to agree to the petition, the protesters are angered over the amended Compact of Free Association that does not specifically continue health and compensation programs for radiation-affected islands.

The US ambassador, Greta Morris, says there are ongoing health benefits available for people of the affected atolls through the department of energy.

"We told the group who met with us that we were passing their concerns on to Washington which we have done and we will have to see what the response is, if there will be any way to accommodate their special needs but as I say this was in the Compact that was agreed to by both the US government and by the Marshallese government."

The US ambassador to the Marshall Islands, Greta Morris.