France recognises nuclear tests were 'put upon' Polynesian islands

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The French parliament on Thursday adopted a reform of the organic law that sets out the new measures of autonomy granted by Paris to French Polynesia. Importantly, the legislation includes, for the first time in such a text, a finely tuned recognition that the French nuclear tests were imposed on the South Pacific territory – where a total of 193 bombs were exploded underground, at sea and in the open air over three decades, beginning in 1966 – and the “radiation-induced illnesses” these have provoked. Julien Sartre reports.

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The lower and upper houses of the French parliament this week adopted a reform of the organic law defining the new semi-autonomous status of French Polynesia, a territory of archipelagos and atolls in the mid-South Pacific Ocean, and in the process recognised in a formal text for the very first time the highly sensitive issue of the human and environmental consequences of three decades of France’s nuclear bomb tests there, 23 years after the last of the explosions was triggered.