25 Nov 2015

Civil society urged to help France's nuke test victims

12:08 pm on 25 November 2015
French overseas minister, George Pau-Langevin

French overseas minister, George Pau-Langevin Photo: AFP

The French overseas minister, George Pau-Langevin, says maybe civil society groups can help victims of the French nuclear weapons tests compile their compensation claims.

The minister made the suggestion in a wide-ranging interview with Tahiti-infos in which she said the relevant 2010 law had been adopted during the previous presidency but not been applied properly.

In 2009, France admitted for the first time that its weapons tests had detrimental health effects but of the hundreds of compensation claims filed since then, most have been turned down.

She says the law appears to her to be quite restrictive, but she says it is a good thing that there is now a committee following up the claims which is under the leadership of the health ministry and not simply the defence ministry.

The minister says potential victims need to be informed for them to be treated equitably and here civil society could help prepare their claims.

Veterans organisations have been very critical of the French government, suggesting that they might never get justice.

Tens of thousands of servicemen and civilians were involved in the tests which France ended in 1996.