In memory of Roland Oldham, Moruroa e Tatou
Peace Boat is deeply saddened by the passing of Roland Oldham, a fervent defender of the victims of nuclear testing in Polynesia and across the world. As president of the association of former workers from the Moruroa and Fangataufa nuclear test sites, Roland played a vital role in the campaign for recognition, compensation and reparations for the Maohi workers who suffered adverse health effects from their work at the nuclear test sites. He fought tirelessly to address the health and environment consequences of nuclear testing, and to abolish nuclear weapons.
Whenever Peace Boat visited the beautiful islands of Tahiti, we were warmly welcomed by Roland and friends of Moruroa e Tatou. On each occasion we were grealty inspired by his attitude, pride and dedication. Roland and all from Moruroa e Tatou welcomed Hibakusha from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. and even young messengers such as the grandchildren of the Hibakusha. They also hosted people from Fukushima, impacted by the nuclear disaster. Through such encounters we have explored how the people of Tahiti and Japan can work together for a nuclear-free world. We will never forget these dialogues and discussions, and will continue to build upon them and pass the victims' memories to future generations to come.
Two years ago, Roland shared his powerful testimony as a nuclear victim during the negotiations for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. His moving voice was clearly heard, and his input included in the treaty adopted soon after. This international norm, prohibiting these inhumane weapons, was created based upon the courageous commitments of Roland and others like him.
Peace Boat expresses our deepest condolences to the family of Roland and Moruroa e Tatou, and offer our heartfelt sympathy to all those close to and supporting him. We will continue to build upon his great legacy and mission, expand the support for nuclear survivors and for the nuclear weapons ban treaty through our voyages, beyond borders.
Peace Boat docks by the Moruroa e Tatou memorial site in Tahiti