Television tribute to Roland Oldham in French. Video:Polynésie la 1ère
By RNZ Pacific
French Polynesia’s leading advocate for the victims of France’s nuclear weapons tests has died.
Roland Oldham, who was the founder and president of the organisation Moruroa e tatou, died at the age of 68.
He had been a teacher and a unionist who had also lived in New Zealand.
Oldham spearheaded Tahiti’s efforts to persuade France to pay compensation for those suffering ill health as a result of the weapons tests carried out between 1966 and 1996.
He was locked in a battle with the French state which only a decade ago admitted that the tests caused radiation-induced diseases.
In the face of France rejecting almost all compensation claims, Oldham pushed for a review of the law.
It has been amended and France now says more victims will be compensated.
Tens of thousands of military and civilian personnel were involved in the testing regime at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls where a total of 193 tests were carried out.
In the 1990s, Oldham, whose organisation was not affiliated to any political party, was under surveillance of the local intelligence agency.
This article is republished under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.