Protection for Resettled Island Populations

The Bikini Resettlement and its Implications for Environmental and Climate Change Migration

in Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
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In the mid-1940s, Bikini Islanders were resettled to make way for the use by the United States of Bikini atoll as a nuclear weapons testing site. Although the relocation to another atoll was with the Bikinians’ ostensible consent, it was in truth a forced migration. The Bikinian resettlement is a significant case study on environmental migration in that it produced longstanding losses (cultural, material, and spiritual) and deep frustrations, the effects of which last up to today. How inadequate preparation, poorly conceived compensation, and the failure to understand the Bikinians’ deep attachment and connection to their island of origin produced profound irritations through the generations. The paper concludes that resettlement is not only about relocating to a new place, but about making such relocation sustainable. Both international and national law have a role to play in protecting indigenous peoples’ collective rights over their land, culture, and resources. If island communities are to be resettled at all due to unavoidable environmental conditions, policy and legal frameworks should minimize, if not avoid, expected material and cultural losses. Bikini’s experience continues to provide important lessons for environmental and climate change-induced migrations in the world today.

Protection for Resettled Island Populations

The Bikini Resettlement and its Implications for Environmental and Climate Change Migration

in Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies

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References

25

Kistesupra note 20 at 27.

28

Watkinssupra note 26 at 3.

37

Cerneasupra note 16 at 23.

43

M.M. Cernea“Why Economic Analysis if Essential to Resettlement: A Sociologist’s View”34 Economic and Political Weekly 2149 (1999).

47

Kistesupra note 20 at 33.

50

Masonsupra note 22 at 10.

51

Kistesupra note 20 at 77.

56

Niedenthalsupra note 32.

57

Weisgallsupra note 44 at 81.

58

Kistesupra note 20.

59

L. Kessibuki in Niedenthalsupra note 32.

60

Weisgallsupra note 44 at 86.

62

Weisgallsupra note 44 at 86.

63

Niedenthalsupra note 32.

64

Weisgallsupra note 44 at 89.

67

Kistesupra note 20 at 194.

84

Niedenthalsupra note 32 at 157–158.

85

J. Davis‘Bombing Bikini Again’New York Times Magazine (1994).

91

Kistesupra note 20 at 37.

95

Kessibukisupra note 32 at 75–76.

96

Weisgallsupra note 44 at 85.

123

Spain and Nepal ratified in 2007Chile in 2008 and the Central African Republic and Nicaragua in 2010.

133

Cernea and McDowellsupra note 16.

134

Kirschsupra note 68.

135

Nayaksupra note 94 at 80.

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