Leading Tahiti anti-nuclear advocate Roland Oldham dies

11:30 am on 18 March 2019

French Polynesia's leading advocate for the victims of France's nuclear weapons tests has died.

Roland Oldham, head of Mururoa e Tatou

Roland Oldham Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

Roland Oldham, who was the founder and president of the organisation Moruroa e tatou, died at the age of 68.

He had been a teacher and a unionist who had also lived in New Zealand.

Mr Oldham spearheaded Tahiti's efforts to get France to pay compensation for those suffering ill health as a result of the weapons tests carried out between 1966 and 1996.

He was locked in a battle with the French state which only a decade ago admitted that the tests caused radiation-induced diseases.

In the face of France rejecting almost all compensation claims Mr Oldham pushed for a review of the law.

It has been amended and France now says more victims will be compensated.

Tens of thousands of military and civilian personnel were involved in the testing regime at Moruroa and Fangataufa where a total of 193 were carried out.

In the 1990s, Mr Oldham, whose organisation wasn't affiliated to any political party, was under surveillance of the local intelligence agency.

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