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The world's leaders should back up Marshall Islands' efforts to shine a light on nuclear disarmament issue

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Atomic-bomb test on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – The World Council of Churches is the latest organization to offer support to the lawsuit the Republic of the Marshall Islands recently filed in the International Court of Justice against nine nuclear-armed countries for breaching their nuclear disarmament obligations, according to this week’s edition of The Marshall Islands Journal.

The Majuro-based newspaper reported that the WCC, during a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, approved “a wide-ranging resolution on nuclear-related concerns” and that this including supporting “rehabilitation, pastoral accompaniment, legal action and compensation of lossed for the victims of nuclear accidents and nuclear tests including survivors of the Fukushima disaster in Japan and the victims of nuclear tests in the Pacific” as occurred 67 times in the Marshall Islands in the 1940s and 1950s.

In this resolution, the WCC noted its support of the International Court of Justice lawsuit, which we reported on in April under the headline “BOLD: Marshall Islands sues 9 nuclear powers in int’l court for not pursuing disarmament.”

In an article released this week at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, it notes how the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is a “bold, courageous country” that “may be small, but its leaders are not intimidated by the most powerful countries in the world” by pursuing this lawsuit.

As NAPF’s David Krieger wrote: “I like to think of the lawsuits brought by the Marshall Islands as David pitted against the nine nuclear Goliaths, with the exception that the Marshalls have substituted the courts and the law for a slingshot.  Their action is nonviolent, seeking a judicial order to require the nuclear-armed countries to cease modernizing their nuclear arsenals and to begin negotiating for complete nuclear disarmament.

Another way to think about the Marshall Islands is as “The Mouse that Roared.”  The RMI is small, but mighty.  In the classic Peter Sellers’ movie, a small, fictional country sets out to lose a war against the United States in order to obtain reparations and save itself from bankruptcy.  In the case of the Marshall Islands, they hope to win the battle, not for reparations, but for human survival on both the climate change and nuclear abolition fronts.”

Rather than urging the court (and the U.S. Federal Court in the case of the Nuclear Zero lawsuit) to dismiss the claims made by the RMI – that the U.S. has “violated Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferations of Nuclear Weapons by continuing to modernize its nuclear arsenal and by failing to pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament” – the U.S. and other nuclear nations should reexamine their policies and take NPT seriously. We know that the U.S. has not fully compensated the Marshallese people for what they did to them during the atomic testing that took place at Bikini Atoll (the horrific Castle Bravo test) and elsewhere in the Marshalls, leading to radioactive fallout that sickened and killed many. Note the efforts to quash Adam Horowitz's "Nuclear Savage" documentary, which exposes the U.S. government coverup of the fallout on the Rongelap and other Marshallese atolls and the Uncle Sam's indifference to their plight.

The Marshallese people (and others) have suffered enough from the damage of nuclear-weapons testing and through atomic warfare (as in the case of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan). With the U.S. rattling swords and pushing a nuclear power like Russia into a corner, the threat of nuclear war is at its highest point since the Cold War years.

The future of the planet depends on cooler heads prevailing and a serious approach to the threat nuclear armaments pose to all of us.

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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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