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Special Political and Decolonization Committee Agenda Item 75: Effects of Atomic Radiation

Tuesday, 15 October 2002
H.E. Ambassador Capelle

Mr. Chairman,


As this is the first time that my delegation is addressing the Fourth Committee, please allow me at the outset to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election.


Mr. Chairman,


I am pleased to address the Fourth Committee on Agenda Item 75, the Effects of Atomic Radiation. This issue is particularly important to my delegation.


Both the people and the environment of the Marshall Islands have suffered greatly as a consequence of the nuclear weapons tests that were conducted by the United States in our territory in the 1940’s and 1950’s.


Today, more than fifty years after the first atomic bombs were detonated in the Marshall Islands, our people still suffer from ongoing health effects, the food chain still contains dangerously high radiation levels, and our development capacity is restrained by an inability to use contaminated lands. After more than half a century we continue to suffer from the persisting legacy of toxic nuclear waste, which poses challenges far beyond our financial and scientific capability to meet.


As a victim still suffering from the impact of nuclear weapons testing, the Marshall Islands expresses its complete support for the activities of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. This Committee has contributed greatly to the study of the effects of atomic radiation, not only from man-made sources, but also from natural sources. The studies and analysis conducted by the Committee are of benefit to the peoples of all Member States of the United Nations.


The new programme of work planned by the Committee has been endorsed by the General Assembly. Therefore, in order that the Committee might proceed with this programme, and thus discharge the mandate entrusted to it by the General Assembly, my delegation fully supports the Committee’s request to the General Assembly to reaffirm its support by directing the United Nations Environment Program to meet its obligations and provide adequate support funds for the Committee.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.