Battle for justice

Churches call for fair settlement

AT the heart of the cry for justice in the Pacific is the damage to property and life caused by the region’s former and current colonial powers. The church has historically been part of the fight for justice, addressing the issue at an international level. Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, speaks to Islands Business about the struggle.

IN 1974 the Pacific Conference of Churches’ and its partners began efforts to bring justice to a region affected by nuclear testing. Seven years earlier, the Young Women’s Christian Association and the Students Christian Movement in Suva, Fiji’s capital, convened a meeting on nuclear testing on Mururoa.

Two years later a large march took place in Suva against nuclear testing and after a further five years the PCC Executive Committee passed resolutions in opposition to tests in the region. Among those in Fiji who stood against nuclear testing at the time were so-called radicals like Amelia Rokotuivuna, Vijay Naidu and Suliana Siwatibau. Later they would become recognised leaders in political studies, governance and social justice. But it was the fight against the injustice of nuclear testing which was their proving ground. But close to 70 years since the United States’ first Pacific nuclear test on Bikini in 1946, church members have been forced to live with the legacy of this menace.

In those 70 years the world’s superpowers – the US, Great Britain and France – have conducted tests with blatant disregard for human life and the environment. This unwanted activity has maimed Battle for justice Churches call for fair settlement The Region generations of Pacific people and hundreds of European servicemen and their families.

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