French Polynesia should be decolonised, says WCC

The World Council of Churches has called for French Polynesia to be reinstated in the list of countries to be decolonised.

In 1947, the French government had French Polynesia removed from a list drawn up by the United Nations of countries to be decolonised.

The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, meeting in Greece, adopted a statement on Tuesday asking the French authorities to "fulfil their obligations and provide all necessary means for the economic, social and cultural development of the Maohi people".

It also urges France to compensate people affected by nuclear testing and radioactivity in the vicinity.

France carried out nearly two hundred nuclear tests in French Polynesia between 1960 and 1996. The nuclear testing has been linked to cases of cancer among civilians and former military personnel.

The WCC Central Committee invited its member churches and international faith-based churches to engage in advocacy work in support of French Polynesia's full decolonisation.

It also appealed for prayer "for the people and the churches of Maohi Nui as they embark on their peaceful and just struggle for self-determination".