Tahiti’s nuclear compo advocate to be honoured in French Polynesia

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French nuclear weapons tests Bruno Barrillot
French Polynesia's foremost expert on the French nuclear weapons tests Bruno Barrillot ... victimised by "vengeful hatred". Image: Tahiti-Infos/RNZ

RNZ Pacific

The office of the Tahitian president says it wants to honour the memory of Bruno Barrillot who was the head of French Polynesia’s organisation looking at the aftermath of France’s nuclear weapons tests.

The office says it wants to mark the sixth anniversary of Barrillot’s return from France to French Polynesia.

He died less than a year later, shortly before his 77th birthday.

In 2013, Barrillot was sacked by the newly-elected government led by Gaston Flosse, which objected to funding his agency.

His dismissal was widely condemned because he was considered to be the most knowledgeable person about the French tests.

The test veterans’ organisation Moruroa e Tatou said he was pursued by a “vengeful hatred” that did no justice to the government.

Military sites Moruroa, Hao
In 2016, the government reinstated him — three years after the Flosse sacking.

Barrillot’s duties included work on the rehabilitation of the former test-related military sites on Moruroa and Hao as well as assisting in efforts to amend the French nuclear testing compensation law.

In 1984, Barrillot, a French-born priest, founded the NGO Arms Observatory and after the French sinking of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in July 1985 he focused on the damage caused by the nuclear tests in the Pacific.

He was also the co-founder of French Polynesia’s nuclear test veteran organisations.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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