REMARKS: PIF SG at the International Day against Nuclear Tests

Remarks and Speeches
30 August 2023

Welcome remarks by Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Henry Puna

International Day Against Nuclear Tests

29 August 2023 


Excellencies and Senior Officials,

Representatives from regional agencies and Civil Society,

Friends and Colleagues here in Suva as well as online,


Bula Vinaka, Kia Orana, welcome to this special event to commemorate International Day Against Nuclear Tests.

I wish to commend the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, through the Office of the High Commission to Fiji, for co-hosting and co-organising this event. Kommol tata to Ambassador Junior Aini and his staff, as well as the National Nuclear Commission of the RMI.  the Pacific Council of Churches, and the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG).

Let me also express my profound gratitude to our guest speakers who will share their stories of resilience through the theme “Honouring the Past, Empowering the Future”.

I am particularly very honoured to welcome today Mr Nacanieli Seru of the Fiji Nuclear Veterans Association. Mr Seru is one of over 200 Fijian troops that participated in the UK nuclear weapon tests in and around Kiribati between 1957 and 1958.

Sir, we are deeply honoured by your presence, and while we know it is difficult to recount these painful memories, we thank you for your courage and your strength, as we gather today to remember and honour the countless lives and communities forever scarred by the heinous experiments of nuclear testing.

Today is about ensuring that we never forget those 50 long years of atrocities perpetrated on our Blue Pacific, leaving behind a legacy of inter-generational illnesses and problems.

Understanding this history is important to help us shape solutions and empower generations towards the justice that we continue to seek for the legacy of nuclear testing in our region.

Sadly, nations continue to cling to their nuclear arsenals, perpetuating a dangerous status quo. So as we strive towards accelerating global peace and security, we must continue to support the Marshall Islands’ calls for nuclear justice, and we must continue to uphold our Nuclear Free Zone enacted under the Rarotonga Treaty.

As we unite on this International Day Against Nuclear Tests, I am deeply encouraged by the voices of present and future leaders, our youth and our children, who are at the frontline of the fight for nuclear justice.

Let us advocate for dialogue, diplomacy, and the pursuit of peaceful solutions to international conflicts. Each one of us has a role to play in this global endeavour. Governments, civil society, academia, and individuals must work hand in hand to raise awareness, engage in advocacy, and push for meaningful change.

Let us remind the world that the elimination of nuclear weapons is not merely an aspiration but an essential step towards global peace and stability. On this day, let us renew our commitment to building a world where nuclear tests are but a dark chapter in history, and the light of hope shines upon a safer and more secure tomorrow for all. Thank you.