26 May 2010

Call for US help for Marshalls 50 years after nuclear tests

5:27 pm on 26 May 2010

American Samoa's member of the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says he hopes his colleagues can pass legislation to meet the needs of the people of the Marshall Islands.

In convening a hearing of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, Faleomavaega, says 50 years after the nuclear weapons tests the Marshall Islands are still waiting for adequate redress.

He says in 1986 the United States accepted responsibility for the problems caused by the tests, but only a tiny fraction of the money awarded by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal has been made available.

Faleomavaega says when the Marshalls' Government sought more compensation from Congress, the previous administration opposed it, claiming the settlement provided in the Compact of Free Association was full and final.

He also wants Congress to consider that 12,000 Marshallese are forced to live in squalid conditions on 25 hectares on Ebeye island, in order to allow the U.S. Government full access to its missile tracking facility on nearby Kwajalein.