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NO NUKES: Marshall Islands warn of nuclear arms dangers

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"Castle Bravo" on Bikini Atoll in 1954 was the largest nuclear detonation in American history.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – In 2014, the small, spread-out Pacific island nation of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, demanded the world's nuclear powers to work in good faith and achieve the laudable and ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament.

Between 1946 and 1956, the U.S. detonated 67 nuclear bombs over these peaceful atolls, resulting in the “vaporizing” of portions of Marshallese land and terrible suffering for many Marshallese people who were exposed to radioactive fallout, particularly following the March 1, 1954 Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test. Many Marshallese citizens were sickened. Some died. Today, the Marshallese observe "Nuclear Victims' Remembrance Day." 

As we wrote here in April 2014: “In a political move that is incredibly bold, the tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands is taking on the United States and the world’s eight other nuclear-armed nations with a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands that is sending shockwaves around the world: the long-suffering Marshallese people are demanding that these nations live up to their obligations regarding nuclear disarmament.”

While six of the defendents – United States, France, Israel, Russia, North Korea and China – declined to participate in the proceedings at The Hague, India, Pakistan and Great Britain have agreed to take part in the proceedings. As a result, Yahoo News reported in a piece headlined "Marshall Islands warn over nuclear arms race at UN court," judges at the International Court of Justice will be holding a series of hearings over the next week-and-a-half to decided whether it is “competent” to hear the lawsuits brought against both Pakistan and India. It also notes that a third hearing, against Britain, will start on Wednesday and “will be devoted to ‘preliminary objections’ raised by London.”

Reports Common Dreams: “The unprecedented lawsuit is moving forward at the same time that many powerful countries, including the U.S., are increasing and modernizing their nuclear arsenal, and as North Korea threatens Western nations with claims of possessing a nuclear bomb.

The U.S. detonated 67 nuclear bombs over the Marshall Islands between 1946-1958, the equivalent of 1.7 Hiroshima bombs per day for 12 years, as part of its nuclear weapons testing program, according to the anti-nuclear weapons group Nuclear Zero whose lawyers are arguing on behalf of the island nation.

Marshall Islanders argue that they have suffered tremendously from the tests and resultant lingering radioactivity, and that they therefore have a special interest in seeing the world's nuclear-armed nations work to reduce the chance of further detonations.”

Noted the aforementioned Yahoo News story: "The Marshall Islands is on the right side of history... so there's a good chance that they will prevail," said Jacqueline Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation, a California-based anti-nuclear organisation.

"We don't know what's going to happen, but it will no doubt put some pressure on those states" to reduce their stockpiles, she added.

Red Dirt Report will continue to monitor this lawsuit as it moves forward.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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