International Meeting

2002 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Mr. Glann Lewis,

Mayor's Assistant, Bikini Atoll Local Government

Mr.Chairman,@

Distinguish delegates, Victims of A & H bombs and Friends, Ladies and gentlemen.

Greetings to you all from the Marshall Islands, especially from the people of Bikini Atoll. In my native language we say, gIakwe kom.h It is with great honor and privilege that I join my colleague Ms. Hiroko Langinbelik from the Rongelap Atoll Local Government and all of you at this auspicious meeting here in Hiroshma.

On behalf of my Government and its people, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the committee for the generous invitation and recognition for me to come and join you in the 2002 peace movement here in Japan. Recently this year on March 1, 2002, I was chair of the coordinating committee to organize the 2002 Nuclear Victimsf Remembrance Day as it marked the 57th Anniversary since the United States Government tested 67 atomic and thermonuclear weapons between 1946 and 1958, at Bikini and Enewetak atolls. It was also a time to remember our beloved grandparents who left their beautiful homeland to an unexpected, single and isolated Kili Island. Also I would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the delegation and members of (Gensuikyo) who have joined and participated with us at our commemoration ceremony on Majuro. Their speeches inspired all of us in the Marshall Islands. The great experience that we shared has given us all a bright hope for the future of our young people of Bikini atoll. From that we will continue our relationship with the Japanese Peace Movement to abolish nuclear weapons from every corner of the Earth.

Ladies and gentleman, it is now fifty-seven years since the displacement of my people from their home land, and 57 years of living in exile during which time no one would tell us when and how long before we will return to our homeland. Recently, we have hired scientific experts to conduct a study on Bikini atoll, but there are no good results. Now we continue to live in hardship and suffering as our population increase very rapidly. We are residing on both Kili and Ejit islands, in which there are only a few acres of land for farming and shelters. In fact, we almost have no land rights on Ejit island, as other chiefs have laid claims to take back their island. As for Kili island, day after day we are absorbing tidal waves and the sun beats down on us all day long. A few years ago two of our men lost their lives because of the many sharks surrounding the island. We grew up to learn how to fish from our great grand parents as Baikini has many beautiful beaches and calm water. But any way, the fact is that there is nothing we can do to cure our land right away. Instead we must come out quickly and fight for our rights. Once again I repeat, glet us stand strong against A & H bombs and eliminate them with out delay.h

Thank you.