Australia-Oceania :: Marshall Islands

Introduction ::Marshall Islands

    After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands attained independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Marshall Islands hosts the US Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation in the US missile defense network.

Geography ::Marshall Islands

    Oceania, two archipelagic island chains of 29 atolls, each made up of many small islets, and five single islands in the North Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and Australia
    9 00 N, 168 00 E
    total: 181 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 217
    land: 181 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    note: the archipelago includes 11,673 sq km of lagoon waters and encompasses the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Kwajalein, Majuro, Rongelap, and Utirik
    about the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    370.4 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November; islands border typhoon belt
    low coral limestone and sand islands
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed location on Likiep 10 m
    coconut products, marine products, deep seabed minerals
    arable land: 11.11%
    permanent crops: 44.44%
    other: 44.44% (2011)
    0 sq km (2011)
    infrequent typhoons
    inadequate supplies of potable water; pollution of Majuro lagoon from household waste and discharges from fishing vessels
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    the islands of Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein atoll, famous as a World War II battleground, surrounds the world's largest lagoon and is used as a US missile test range; the island city of Ebeye is the second largest settlement in the Marshall Islands, after the capital of Majuro, and one of the most densely populated locations in the Pacific

People and Society ::Marshall Islands

Government ::Marshall Islands

    conventional long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands
    conventional short form: Marshall Islands
    local long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands
    local short form: Marshall Islands
    abbreviation: RMI
    former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Marshall Islands District
    constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force on 21 October 1986 and the Amended Compact entered into force in May 2004
    name: Majuro
    geographic coordinates: 7 06 N, 171 23 E
    time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    24 municipalities; Ailinglaplap, Ailuk, Arno, Aur, Bikini & Kili, Ebon, Enewetak & Ujelang, Jabat, Jaluit, Kwajalein, Lae, Lib, Likiep, Majuro, Maloelap, Mejit, Mili, Namdrik, Namu, Rongelap, Ujae, Utrik, Wotho, Wotje
    21 October 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
    Constitution Day, 1 May (1979)
    1 May 1979
    mixed legal system of US and English common law, customary law, and local statutes
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Christopher J. LOEAK (since 17 January 2012); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Christopher J. LOEAK (since 17 January 2012)
    cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president from among the members of the legislature
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by Nitijela (legislature) from among its members for a four-year term; election last held on 3 January 2012 (next to be held in 2016)
    election results: Nitijela elected Christopher J. LOEAK president on 3 January 2012
    unicameral legislature or Nitijela (33 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held on 21 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2015)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independents 33
    note: the Council of Chiefs or Ironij is a 12-member body comprised of tribal chiefs that advises on matters affecting customary law and practice
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and other judges as prescribed by law)
    judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the Cabinet on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission and upon the approval of the Nitijela; judges appointed until retirement, normally at age 72
    subordinate courts: High Court; District Courts; Traditional Rights Court; Community Courts
    traditionally there have been no formally organized political parties; what has existed more closely resembles factions or interest groups because they do not have party headquarters, formal platforms, or party structures; the following two "groupings" have competed in legislative balloting in recent years - Aelon Kein Ad Party [Michael KABUA] and United Democratic Party or UDP [Litokwa TOMEING]
    chief of mission: Ambassador Charles R. PAUL
    chancery: 2433 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 234-5414
    FAX: [1] (202) 232-3236
    consulate(s) general: Honolulu, Springdale (AR)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas H. ARMBRUSTER
    embassy: Oceanside, Mejen Weto, Long Island, Majuro
    mailing address: P. O. Box 1379, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands 96960-1379
    telephone: [692] 247-4011
    FAX: [692] 247-4012
    blue with two stripes radiating from the lower hoist-side corner - orange (top) and white; a white star with four large rays and 20 small rays appears on the hoist side above the two stripes; blue represents the Pacific Ocean, the orange stripe signifies the Ralik Chain or sunset and courage, while the white stripe signifies the Ratak Chain or sunrise and peace; the star symbolizes the cross of Christianity, each of the 24 rays designates one of the electoral districts in the country and the four larger rays highlight the principal cultural centers of Majuro, Jaluit, Wotje, and Ebeye; the rising diagonal band can also be interpreted as representing the equator, with the star showing the archipelago's position just to the north
    name: "Forever Marshall Islands"

    lyrics/music: Amata KABUA
    note: adopted 1981

Economy ::Marshall Islands

Communications ::Marshall Islands

    4,400 (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    3,800 (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    general assessment: digital switching equipment; modern services include telex, cellular, Internet, international calling, caller ID, and leased data circuits
    domestic: Majuro Atoll and Ebeye and Kwajalein islands have regular, seven-digit, direct-dial telephones; other islands interconnected by high frequency radiotelephone (used mostly for government purposes) and mini-satellite telephones
    international: country code - 692; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); US Government satellite communications system on Kwajalein (2005)
    no TV broadcast station; a cable network is available on Majuro with programming via videotape replay and satellite relays; 4 radio broadcast stations; American Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) provides satellite radio and television service to Kwajalein Atoll (2009)
    3 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 232
    2,200 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 210

Transportation ::Marshall Islands

    15 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    total: 4
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 11
    914 to 1,523 m: 10
    under 914 m:
    1 (2013)
    total: 2,028 km (includes 75 km of expressways) (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    total: 1,593
    country comparison to the world: 7
    by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 524, cargo 65, carrier 1, chemical tanker 351, container 226, liquefied gas 88, passenger 7, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 297, refrigerated cargo 13, roll on/roll off 9, vehicle carrier 10
    foreign-owned: 1,468 (Belgium 1, Bermuda 35, Brazil 1, Canada 8, China 14, Croatia 12, Cyprus 40, Denmark 7, Egypt 1, France 7, Germany 248, Greece 408, Hong Kong 3, India 10, Indonesia 1, Iraq 2, Ireland 6, Italy 1, Japan 59, Jersey 11, Kuwait 2, Latvia 19, Malaysia 11, Mexico 2, Monaco 30, Netherlands 21, Norway 75, Pakistan 1, Qatar 29, Romania 2, Russia 5, Singapore 30, Slovenia 6, South Korea 41, Sweden 1, Switzerland 12, Taiwan 8, Turkey 70, UAE 12, UK 12, Ukraine 1, US 200) (2010)
    Enitwetak Island, Kwajalein, Majuro

Military ::Marshall Islands

Transnational Issues ::Marshall Islands

    claims US territory of Wake Island
    current situation: The Marshall Islands are a destination country for women from East Asia subjected to sex trafficking; foreign women are reportedly forced into prostitution in bars frequented by crew members of fishing vessels; some Chinese women are recruited to the Marshall Islands with promises of legitimate work and are subsequently forced into prostitution
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - The Marshall Islands do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government has not identified any victims, investigated any trafficking cases, or prosecuted any offenders under the country's 2011 anti-trafficking law; the government also has no mechanism in place to ensure that trafficking victims receive access to legal, medical, or psychological services; no public awareness campaigns on the dangers of human trafficking have been undertaken (2013)