French Polynesia's new autonomy statute has been adopted

12:50 pm on 24 May 2019

French Polynesia's new autonomy statute has been adopted.

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Photo: 123RF

A day after the French Senate approved it, the French National Assembly voted for the revised text which acknowledges French Polynesia's role in helping France develop its nuclear deterrent.

France carried out 193 nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia over a 30-year period.

The reworded statute said that French Polynesia was made to contribute to the effort, clarifying that its role wasn't voluntary.

In the Assembly, French Polynesia's member Moetai Brotherson voted against the new statute.

He pointed to this week's court opinion in Papeete, voiding ten of the 12 compensation claims under consideration.

He said the latest court interpretation has returned the concept of negligible risk which was agreed to be eliminated two years ago to help more test victims.

Other members however said the new statute should pave the way for more compensation to be awarded.

Danielle Obono said more help was warranted as there has been a five-fold increase in the number of malformations at birth in the past 25 years.

Two months ago, the French Polynesian president Edouard Fritch said the main point to revise the statute was to calm domestic and international opinion about the weapons test legacy.

The opposition parties in French Polynesia don't want to continue with the autonomy, seeking either for the territory to become a state associated with France or an independent country.

For the past six years French Polynesia has been on the UN decolonisation list but France has refused to acknowledge this and act on it.

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