CHOGM in Auckland should call on France to fully end its decolonization process in South Pacific by granting independence to South Pacific islanders who are currently under French rule


by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, November 5, 1995:

CHOGM in Auckland should call on France to fully end its decolonization process in South Pacific by granting independence to South Pacific islanders who are currently under French rule

The reason why the French ambassador, Eduoard Braine, could arrogantly claim that French nuclear tests in the South Pacific are “completely harmless” is because France is exercising sovereignty over French Polynesia and is still acting like a colonial power when decolonisation should have ended French rule in the South Pacific.

Without the French territories in the South Pacific, President Chirac and the French Government would be compelled to explode the French nuclear tests in metropolitan France itself or abandon the resumption of French nuclear tests – and there is no doubt as to the choice in such an eventuality. Nobody believes that the French Government would be able to convince the French people to allow French nuclear tests in metropolitan France because they are “completely harmless”.

The French Ambassador’s arrogant claim that the French nuclear tests in the South Pacific are “completely harmless” are therefore not only most self-serving, but highly contemptuous or the rights of the South Pacific islanders, whether as to their health, life or their eco-system, and utterly insensitive of world opposition to nuclear tests and weaponry.

As president Chirac would not be able to conduct nuclear tests at France does not have overseas territories in the South Pacific, namely French Polynesia, New Caledonia, the Walls and Futuna Islands, the Commonwealth heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Auckland next week should call on France to fully end its decolonization process in South Pacific by granting independence to South Pacific islanders who are currently under French rule.

The resumption of French nuclear tests in the two atolls of Moruroa and Fangataufa had highlighted the Polynesia independence movement, which had been growing in strength over the year.

It is pertinent to note that in the 1993 poll to elect two representatives to the French National Assembly, a candidate from the Polynesia Liberation front won 44.3 per cent of the votes.

CHOGM should ensure that it is not like other international conferences which have proved to be nothing more than “talks shops protesting against French nuclear tests and work out an action programme to demand French halt all further tests

The CHOGM meeting next week should ensure that it is not like other international conference which have proved to be nothing more than “talks shops” protesting against French nuclear tests.

It must work out a Commonwealth Action Programme with the specific objective to demand that president Chirac and France halt all further nuclear tests.

Such a commonwealth Action Programme to oppose and stop further French Nuclear should establish a commonwealth Action Council to oppose and Stop Further French Nuclear tests, comprising the heads of governments of a dozen or so states, which should be empowered, among other things, to:

  • Demand a meeting with President Chirac to convey to him the world outrage at his decision to resume French nuclear tests;

  • Propose International sanctions in the United Nations as well as in other international forums against France for the resumption for French nuclear tests;

  • Send an independent Commonwealth commission of scientists to study the impact of the French nuclear tests on the environment and health of the South Pacific islanders and the eco-system;

  • Draw up a Bill of Indemnity to demand French compensation for all damages to the health of those affected and the eco-system, whether past, present of future, arising from French nuclear tests in the South Pacific; and

  • Mobilise international opinion and pressure for the France to fully and truly end it decolonisation process by granting full independence to all South Pacific islanders.

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