Skip to main content

35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

14 September 2023

Author

Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Themes

NGOCHR Calls Out Japan's Nuclear Dumping Plans and Urgent Redress of Nuclear Dumping in Pacific Waters

NGOCHR Calls Out Japan's Nuclear Dumping Plans and Urgent Redress of Nuclear Dumping in Pacific Waters

8/08/2023

The Fiji NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR) is extremely disappointed with the stance taken by Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka supporting plans by Japan to dump Fukushima Nuclear Waste Water into the Pacific Ocean.

This proposed action by Japan is a violation of the human rights of all people of the Pacific and all those who live in the quarter of the Earth's surface covered by the Pacific Ocean.

The Coalition welcomes the clear stance of UN Special Rapporteurs Marcos A. Orellana, Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, Michael Fakhri, Special Rapporteur on Right to Food and David Boyd, Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, who have all publicly expressed deep disappointment and strong concerns on the impact of Fukushima waste dumping in the Pacific, which Japan has said will start even as early as this August, 2023.

The Coalition believes that despite this nuclear waste dumping being deemed safe by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the magnitude of the threat is massive to humans and marine life and the livelihood of millions of Asia and Pacific people who depend so much on our ocean resources, and with consequences for the global food system.

We call on the Fiji Prime Minister, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and development Institutions and all Pacific people to exercise all international legal means possible to stop this massive ecological injustice, and to stop any capitulation to Japan on the basis of one highly-politicised report from IAEA that has its own problematic founding principles as a "promoter of peaceful uses of nuclear energy". The IAEA report is not an adequately independent assessment of the Fukushima plan.

The Coalition stands in solidarity with all other organisations and social movements calling for an immediate end to the Japanese dumping plan that directly violates the Rarotonga Treaty declaring the South Pacific as a nuclear free zone. We reiterate that Article 7 of the Rarotonga Treaty covers an obligation as state parties to the treaty to prevent nuclear dumping in our territories.

This nuclear wastewater dumping plan by Japan also contradicts Japan's own obligation under the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Sea directly violating Articles 192 and 195 and nearly all the articles in Part 12 which addresses the protection and preservation of the marine environment.  We must make a stand and demand for redress by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).  

We also appeal to our Pacific neighbours to stand with us and urge the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to listen to our plight and call on the support of China, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, and other countries to demand for an urgent UNGA Resolution at the next General Assembly to stop this errant plan.

Earlier this year at the 3rd Pacific Feminist Forum, more than 150 diverse women and girls from around the Pacific region collectively stated that "(T)he Pacific feminist movement strongly recommends...rejecting and fighting the proposal of Japan to release 1.3 million tonnes of treated nuclear wastewater into the Pacific ocean. The claims that this is safe, are scientifically unfounded and we will resist this for ourselves and our Wansolwara (the Pacific as one ocean and one people)".

We take this stance as a human rights demand and as a gender justice issue affecting Pacific ecology, biodiversity, people and livelihoods. This is the time for firm national and regional stances of Pacific governments, including our own in Fiji and on behalf of our people, to stop Japan from dumping Fukushima nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

Ends.