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Thursday, December 31, 1998 Published at 22:37 GMT


Fijian N-test veteran sues UK

Test veterans say they had no protection

A Fijian veteran present during UK nuclear testing on Christmas Island in the late 1950s has filed for compensation with the European court of Human Rights.

Campaigners say more than 350 Fijians have suffered health problems due to radiation.

They also say the group was not told why they were going to the island.

The BBC's Catherine Adams: Many Fijians volunteered to go
The UK tested around 24 nuclear bombs on Christmas Island in the Pacific between 1958 and 1960.

Patriotic feeling in the former colony was running high and many Fijians volunteered to go to Christmas Island.

They were expecting only to clear the area and build houses.

The Pacific Concern Resource Centre, which has collected stories from around 100 veterans, say they were not issued with protective clothing and were just told to turn their backs on the explosions.

The group, campaigning for compensation, says most of the veterans suffered from unexplained illnesses for most of their lives.

These include skin disorders, asthma, cancers and deformities.

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