France confirms rethink on nuke compensation

2:32 pm on 6 July 2017

The French overseas minister Annick Girardin has admitted that France has been slow in recognising the aftermath of its nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia.

Annick Girardin

Annick Girardin Photo: AFP

Until 1996, France tested 193 nuclear weapons in the Pacific, and in 2010 passed a compensation law admitting for the first time that the tests caused ill health.

The minister said the government was now on the side of the test victims and is about to revisit all the claims which have been rejected.

Ms Girardin made the comment in the French National Assembly after a French Polynesian member Maina Sage called for clear steps of reparation.

Ms Sage said she wanted an undertaking this year that France would compensate the victims, the hospital in Tahiti and the social security system paying for the care of the victims as well as surveillance of the now defunct weapons test sites.

Ms Girardin said the prime minister Edouard Philippe had suggested the compensation committee CIVEN meet under the auspices of the health minister Agnes Buzyn.

At the weekend, the French Polynesian president Edouard Fritch advised French Polynesia's test veteran organisations that France had accepted changes to the compensation laws and loosened the criteria for victims to be eligible.

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