The assembly of French Polynesia unanimously adopted a resolution on September 28th, supporting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and calling on France, one of the five original nuclear powers, to join the treaty.
The resolution calls on Paris to take part in next month’s meeting of states parties to the TPNW as an observer and to actively work towards France's full compliance with the new international legal norm enshrined in the treaty and ultimately to join it.
French Polynesia, which is part of France and sends MPs to the National Assembly in Paris, was the site of 193 French nuclear tests between 1966 and 1996 which caused radioactive pollution of marine ecosystems and had impacts on people’s health in the region.
The TPNW mandates assistance to victims of nuclear testing and the clean up and rehabilitation of contaminated areas, so French Polynesia, which hosts the French nuclear testing centre, would directly benefit from France’s adherence to the treaty.
The resolution, sponsored by representative Hinamoeura Morgant-Cross from Tavini Huiraatira, emphasises the TPNW as a humanitarian disarmament treaty. It highlights the deep concerns of the French Polynesian population regarding this issue, while French Polynesia cannot currently access the assistance and rehabilitation outlined in Articles 6 and 7 of the TPNW due to France's non-ratification.
Ms Morgant-Cross, welcomed the vote: "I would like to say that recognition of the real impact of nuclear weapons is my life’s struggle and it is very important to me that my first resolution as a representative of the Assembly of French Polynesia concerns support for TPNW and it was precisely at the first Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW last year that I decided to enter politics".
The Director of ICAN France, Jean-Marie Collin said. “the adoption of this resolution is highly symbolic and a strong message from a territory which has experienced nuclear horror. After the appeal of seventy-six French cities, the Bourgogne Franche-Comté region and the Greater Lyon Metropolis, this new political act must not be ignored by the President and his government. If it is to demonstrate it is a responsible state, France must participate as an observer in the next TPNW meeting.”
Support for the TPNW is growing in France. Seventy-six cities and communes have signed the ICAN Cities Appeal, including Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon and Montpellier. Further, a coalition of 59 Parliamentarians and Senators are calling on the French government to constructively engage with the treaty by observing the meetings of states parties.
- The TPNW bans countries from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in these activities.
- The second meeting of states parties to the TPNW will be held at the UN in New York in November and one of the key areas to be discussed will be the report of the working group on a verification mechanism for the treaty. The meeting will also hear a report from the Scientific Advisory Group on developments regarding nuclear weapons, nuclear weapon risks, the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament and related issues The meeting will also make decisions on support for victims and survivors of nuclear testing as well as environmental remediation, and advance discussions on a proposed international trust fund for affected states.
- ICAN is the civil society coordinator for the TPNW.
For more information and interview requests contact:
Alistair Burnett, ICAN Head of Media: [email protected] +41 78 238 7179