Fiji

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

Signed: 20 September 2017

Ratified: 7 July 2020

 

Summary

Fiji has signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). It was among the original 50 states parties to the treaty when it entered into force on 22 January 2021.

 

Signature and ratification

Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji, signed the TPNW when it opened for signature on 20 September 2017.


Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji, signs the TPNW in New York on 20 September 2017. Photo: ICAN

The permanent representative of Fiji to the United Nations, Satyendra Prasad, deposited the country’s instrument of ratification with the UN secretary-general on 7 July 2020, the third anniversary of the TPNW’s adoption.

Prasad said: “Pacific islanders continue to be exposed to nuclear radiation. Nuclear explosions, we know very well, do not observe national borders, they don’t respect visa regimes, nor does nuclear waste respect time – it remains for generations.”

Fiji’s parliament unanimously approved the ratification on 28 May 2020 following the recommendation of its standing committee on foreign affairs and defence.

Members of parliament noted Fijians’ first-hand experience of the long-term health impacts of nuclear weapons as a result of their involvement in the British nuclear testing programme at Malden and Kiritimati islands in the 1950s.

Satyendra Prasad, the permanent representative of Fiji to the United Nations, displays the instrument of ratification on 7 July 2020. Photo: ICAN

 

Implementation

In accordance with Article 2 of the TPNW, Fiji submitted a declaration to the UN secretary-general on 15 February 2021 confirming that it does not own, possess, or control nuclear weapons, has never done so, and does not host any other state’s nuclear weapons on its territory.

Fiji has promoted universal adherence to the TPNW, including by co-sponsoring and consistently voting in favour of an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the treaty “at the earliest possible date”.

Bainimarama celebrated the entry into force of the treaty on 22 January 2021: “We will never forget the painful past of nuclear testing in the Pacific. We are now one step closer to ridding the world of the scourge of these senseless weapons once and for all.”

In a statement to the UN General Assembly in September 2021, he said that Fiji had joined the TPNW “because it was the right thing to do, for ourselves, our communities, and for the global family”. He urged all states that have not yet done so to join the treaty to “make our world safer for today and for future generations”.

More than a hundred people march through the streets of Suva, Fiji, in 2020 in support of the TPNW. Photo: YoungsolwaraP

 

TPNW negotiations

Fiji participated in the negotiation of the TPNW at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and was among 122 states that voted in favour of its adoption.

In its first statement to the negotiating conference, Fiji called for “a commitment to provide assistance to victims [of the use and testing of nuclear weapons] and environmental redress for Pacific islanders who have lost much as a result of nuclear testing”.

In 2016, Fiji co-sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

Vanessa Griffen, an ICAN campaigner from Fiji, speaks at a side event during the TPNW negotiations in June 2017. Photo: ICAN

 

Before the negotiations

Fiji was among 127 states that endorsed a “humanitarian pledge” in 2015–16 to cooperate “in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit, and eliminate nuclear weapons”. The pledge was instrumental in building momentum and support for convening the negotiations.

Fiji, together with Nauru, Palau, Samoa, and Tuvalu, submitted a working paper to a UN working group in Geneva in 2016 in which it argued that “the debate should no longer be about whether a global ban on nuclear weapons is necessary, but rather how we can achieve it and what provisions it should contain”.

The five Pacific island states commented that the lived experience of nuclear weapons in the Pacific, where more than 300 atomic and hydrogen bombs were tested, has motivated them to work for a treaty-based ban.

Almost 300 Fijian soldiers participated in the UK nuclear weapon tests at Malden and Kiritimati islands in the 1950s. Many of the soldiers later developed cancers and other illnesses as a result of exposure to ionising radiation.

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

[HIGHLIGHTS]

Signed: 20 September 2017

Ratified: 7 July 2020

 

Summary

Fiji has signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). It was among the original 50 states parties to the treaty when it entered into force on 22 January 2021.

 

Signature and ratification

Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji, signed the TPNW when it opened for signature on 20 September 2017.


Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji, signs the TPNW in New York on 20 September 2017. Photo: ICAN

The permanent representative of Fiji to the United Nations, Satyendra Prasad, deposited the country’s instrument of ratification with the UN secretary-general on 7 July 2020, the third anniversary of the TPNW’s adoption.

Prasad said: “Pacific islanders continue to be exposed to nuclear radiation. Nuclear explosions, we know very well, do not observe national borders, they don’t respect visa regimes, nor does nuclear waste respect time – it remains for generations.”

Fiji’s parliament unanimously approved the ratification on 28 May 2020 following the recommendation of its standing committee on foreign affairs and defence.

Members of parliament noted Fijians’ first-hand experience of the long-term health impacts of nuclear weapons as a result of their involvement in the British nuclear testing programme at Malden and Kiritimati islands in the 1950s.

Satyendra Prasad, the permanent representative of Fiji to the United Nations, displays the instrument of ratification on 7 July 2020. Photo: ICAN

 

Implementation

In accordance with Article 2 of the TPNW, Fiji submitted a declaration to the UN secretary-general on 15 February 2021 confirming that it does not own, possess, or control nuclear weapons, has never done so, and does not host any other state’s nuclear weapons on its territory.

Fiji has promoted universal adherence to the TPNW, including by co-sponsoring and consistently voting in favour of an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the treaty “at the earliest possible date”.

Bainimarama celebrated the entry into force of the treaty on 22 January 2021: “We will never forget the painful past of nuclear testing in the Pacific. We are now one step closer to ridding the world of the scourge of these senseless weapons once and for all.”

In a statement to the UN General Assembly in September 2021, he said that Fiji had joined the TPNW “because it was the right thing to do, for ourselves, our communities, and for the global family”. He urged all states that have not yet done so to join the treaty to “make our world safer for today and for future generations”.

More than a hundred people march through the streets of Suva, Fiji, in 2020 in support of the TPNW. Photo: YoungsolwaraP

 

TPNW negotiations

Fiji participated in the negotiation of the TPNW at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and was among 122 states that voted in favour of its adoption.

In its first statement to the negotiating conference, Fiji called for “a commitment to provide assistance to victims [of the use and testing of nuclear weapons] and environmental redress for Pacific islanders who have lost much as a result of nuclear testing”.

In 2016, Fiji co-sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

Vanessa Griffen, an ICAN campaigner from Fiji, speaks at a side event during the TPNW negotiations in June 2017. Photo: ICAN

 

Before the negotiations

Fiji was among 127 states that endorsed a “humanitarian pledge” in 2015–16 to cooperate “in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit, and eliminate nuclear weapons”. The pledge was instrumental in building momentum and support for convening the negotiations.

Fiji, together with Nauru, Palau, Samoa, and Tuvalu, submitted a working paper to a UN working group in Geneva in 2016 in which it argued that “the debate should no longer be about whether a global ban on nuclear weapons is necessary, but rather how we can achieve it and what provisions it should contain”.

The five Pacific island states commented that the lived experience of nuclear weapons in the Pacific, where more than 300 atomic and hydrogen bombs were tested, has motivated them to work for a treaty-based ban.

Almost 300 Fijian soldiers participated in the UK nuclear weapon tests at Malden and Kiritimati islands in the 1950s. Many of the soldiers later developed cancers and other illnesses as a result of exposure to ionising radiation.

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