The Report of the Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council on the human rights effects of U.S. nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands was recently released to the public. The report addresses lingering health and human rights effects from the 67 atmospheric nuclear test explosions that were detonated from 1946 to 1958 by the United States in the Pacific islands. One of the central conclusions of the report was that "the nuclear testing resulted in both immediate and continuing effects on the human rights of the Marshallese."
The Special Rapporteur noted that the prevalence of thyroid cancer in the Marshall Islands is associated with an increase in intake of radioactive iodine. The report also documents a range of reproductive problems in women from the Rongelap Atoll; however, a link between these reproductive issues and nuclear testing cannot not be definitively established due to a lack of scientific data from that period, according to the report. The report notes the lingering psychological effects among the Marshallese population resulting from the extensive nuclear testing, noting that a significant portion of the population believes that radiation continues to contaminate the land and affect the health of the local population.