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Members of Hawaii's Micronesian community protested at Governor Linda Lingle's office in August 2009 to protect medical care in the aftermath of US nuclear tests in the South Pacific ; File photo

UN to investigate impact of US nuclear tests on human rights of Marshall Islanders

The United Nations is sending an expert to the Marshall Islands later this month to assess the impact on human rights of the nuclear tests conducted by the United States between 1946 and 1958. It's the first ever visit to the country by an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council.

From the UN:

GENEVA (21 March 2012) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Calin Georgescu will visit the Marshall Islands from 26 to 30 March 2012 to assess the impact on human rights of the nuclear tests conducted by the United States between 1946 and 1958, in what is the first ever visit to the country by an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council.

“I will assess the efforts undertaken by the governments of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and of the United States of America to eliminate or mitigate the negative effects of the testing on the Marshallese population,” said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights obligations related to environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and waste.

“This visit will give my mandate the chance to gather lessons learnt in this field of nuclear testing and ensure accountability in such cases,” Mr. Georgescu said. “It will also be an exceptional opportunity to assess how the Marshallese peoples’ basic rights including the right to food, adequate housing and health have been affected.”

During his four-day mission, the independent expert will hold meetings with several stakeholders, including government officials and civil society organizations. Based on information gathered during the visit, the Special Rapporteur will prepare a report containing its conclusions and recommendations to present to the Human Rights Council in September 2012.

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