Rights, Respect, and Reciprocity

Protocols for Seeking Nuclear Truth with Integrity


We consider that protocols are how individuals, organisations and communities stay in right relationship with each other, building respectful, intentional, and two-way or reciprocal relationships. Protocols help us prepare ourselves and our spaces.

For communities impacted by nuclear harms, protocols help centre the lived experience of individuals in the processes to redress harm. We work to prepare ourselves and our spaces to be open, accountable, and safe.

For civil society workers, governments, scientists, medical or other professions from the outside, these protocols offer general guidance when approaching work with affected community members, or a starting point for engagement.

Each community impacted by nuclear harms has unique lived experience expertise. Many will have their own customs or protocols about relating with people outside of community, and may have laws or practices that may apply when engaging on sensitive issues. Long-lived and intergenerational trauma and on-going health impacts must be considered in any approach to affected community members.

These protocols aim to protect the vulnerable, shield from further trauma and harm, and ensure any efforts for remediation and assistance are centred in the work to redress both historic and any future harms from nuclear activities.

These protocols are a living document, open to adoption or adaptation by communities, individuals, or organisations.

We advocate that those working towards nuclear truth and remedy within, alongside or in relation to victims/survivors, First Nations and Indigenous Peoples in nuclear impacted communities should undertake to consider and establish practices that follow these basic protocols – Rights, Respect and Reciprocity



There is an expectation that those coming to work alongside or with affected communities practice respectful communications and consultations, taking responsibility for their work, its anticipated impacts and follow through.

In addition, recognise that nuclear impacted communities and Peoples have the right to:

  • Work with an understanding of established Indigenous rights frameworks (for example as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), and any local protocols and practices of the communities themselves to protect cultural continuity, survival and integrity
  • Develop clear and consensual agreements on the collection, use, reproduction, and dissemination of information, as meets the expectations of culture, community and local laws
  • Prove free, prior and informed consent for engagement, including the rights to refusal, withdrawal, and the right to remain anonymous
  • Protect personal information and data, and maintain confidentiality as requested by individuals or a community
  • Ensure that intellectual and cultural property rights are properly addressed and that attribution and credit for all knowledge that is shared by individuals or communities is made clear



Nuclear activities have inflicted considerable losses for many affected individuals and communities, including intergenerational traumas and harm, and that lived experience must be validated and respected. Understand that for many communities, the connection between people, animals and all living creatures, and the lands, air, oceans and waters are inseparable from one another in responsibility and care.

Those who come to work within, alongside or in relation to those in nuclear affected communities, consider committing to the following practices and principles with respect:

  • Do nothing that foreseeably creates further harm or compounds existing harms
  • Uphold principles of equity, fairness and justice in your approaches
  • Commit to deep or active listening practices, working with spirit and integrity
  • Be mindful of the need to communicate in a respectful manner. This may include providing for translation or interpretation, or taking into account the literacy requirements for individuals. Communicate on a level that can be understood and reciprocated, avoiding technical jargon
  • Take care to learn and follow relevant practices around use of imagery, particularly for community members who may have passed
  • Publish or adopt a platform only with the explicit or written consent of the person/people concerned, where applicable
  • When approaching communities or individuals, demonstrate transparency in your motives, practices and anticipated outcomes
  • Do not visit Elders or impacted communities if you are unwell


RECIPROCITY (two-way relationships)

Two-way relations or reciprocity is a central principle for many communities. Work with intention to build respectful, reciprocal (two-way) and positive relationships, while avoiding extractive and colonial relationships, with intent to share and collaborate. 

  • Recognise that information and data (including stories, research, other) collected from individuals and communities involves knowledge transfer and production, and as such is a resource that has impacts for the communities
  • Seek out any opportunities for resource and revenue sharing when possible, including through stipends or other support
  • Build capacity wherever possible, for example through providing opportunities for local work, study, assistance, or skill building
  • Work to ensure all data or material collected remains the property of the community, by ensuring that material is shared or transferred to the community members or representative organisations as well as the individuals who provided them
  • Recognise that, like community members, outside researchers are accountable to those communities they are working alongside, for, or with.

* The Nuclear Truth Project Protocols are a living document – this version was published in October 2023 following consultations with affected community members


These protocols are a living document, open to adoption or adaptation by communities,
individuals, or organisations.

The Nuclear Truth Project Protocols are now in active consultation with Indigenous Peoples, affected community members and allies.

This is an updated version of the Protocols, released in October 2023. The original version is archived here for community reference.

The Nuclear Truth Project submitted a Working Paper on the Protocols to the United Nations Second Meeting of States Parties (2MSP) to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in November 2023. The Working Paper can be found here.
A Working Paper was also submitted to the UN First Meeting of States Parties in June 2022; it can be found here.

Please feel free to share this link with your organization or networks, and to consider a formal sign-on to adapt or adopt the Protocols as a tool in your work.

For further information on how you can work with these Protocols or to provide feedback on them, please contact us.

DNA Repair. 2017. 16 x 20 in. Acrylic on Watercolor Paper. Mallery Quetawki (Zuni Pueblo). artist site | instagram

​DNA has the ability to repair itself through complex mechanisms and pathways when damage occurs. Its intricacy of repair can be compared to the creation of beaded items in Native Culture. Designs are thought out ahead and require skill and patience to be able to bead such intricate pieces. When a beaded necklace comes undone, the stones/beads are restrung by using what is already there. The design used is from the Crow Nation. The use of the flower design symbolizes the idea of regrowth.

We would like to acknowledge the use of Ms. Quetawki’s images from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, the University of New Mexico NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy.

We are grateful to Zuni Pueblo artist Mallery Quetawki for designing the beautiful Nuclear Truth Project logo. Combining many symbols familiar within the nuclear free movement, this stunning design evokes both the strength and the long story of the movement we are a living part of. As the artist explains;

“The olive branch is the offering for peace, the arrows are signifying the work towards a common cause and the peace symbol represents the outcome. The handprint represents unity and the sunflower represents remediation. The DNA strand represents the positive outcome for all living things.”

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