Abolition 2000 Update
Progress and actions for the global abolition of nuclear weapons
- Call of Conscience – Interfaith initiative for a world free of nuclear weapons
- Japan Prime Minister bids bon voyage to Special Communicators for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World
- Citizens’ Affirmation on the Criminality of Nuclear Weapons
- Santa Barbara Declaration on Nuclear Deterrence
- Middle Powers Initiative – draft United Nations resolution to implement the Secretary-General’s Five-Point-Proposal
- What next after New START – letters to US and Russian legislatures>
- Appeal for a future without nuclear weapons and nuclear energy
- Nuclear Abolition Forum – new initiative to stimulate dialogue
- Coming events:
a. Global Forum on Disarmament Education, Nagasaki March 17-18
b. International Network of Emerging Nuclear Specialists Conference, Washington March 26-27
c. Washington DC Days – April 3-6
d. Time-bomb Nuclear Power: 25 Years after Chernobyl, Berlin, April 8 – 10
e. Global Day of Action Against Military Spending – April 12
f. Chernobyl Day – April 26
The indiscriminate, destructive effects of nuclear weapons render them incompatible with civilized values and international humanitarian law. The threat to use them and annihilate vast numbers of innocent people, inflict indescribable suffering and environmental destruction is immoral, and contrary to the purposes for which the blessings of life have been given to us, and that Only by building bridges of cooperation and trust amongst peoples can we effectively address unnecessary crushing poverty and adequately organize ourselves to protect the global commons, such as the oceans, the climate, and the rainforests – the living systems upon which civilization depends. A discriminatory security system with nuclear haves and have-nots is incompatible with the achievement of this necessary global cooperation.
The Call to Conscience proposes a number of actions for people of faith and faith-based communities to take including to “Persuade governments …to commence negotiations as rapidly as possible on the universal, legally verifiable, and enforceable elimination of nuclear weapons” and to “align our religious institutions’ investment policies with their values, by prohibiting investments in companies producing weapons of indiscriminant effect – landmines, cluster munitions and nuclear weapons.”
The Cooperation Circle Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons consists of a diverse group of former policy-makers, technical experts, religious leaders and academics such as Dr. Sidney Drell (Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution), Ambassador James E. Goodby (Vice Chairman of the U.S. Delegation to the Strategic Nuclear Arms Negotiations with the U.S.S.R.), Mussie Hailu (Chair of the Interfaith Peace-building Initiative in Addis Ababa), Professor David T. Ives (Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute), George P. Shultz (former U.S. Secretary of State), Rev. William E. Swing (Retired Episcopal Bishop of California) and Jonathan Granoff (President of the Global Security Institute).
On 9 February 2011, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan bid bon voyage to nine Special Communicators for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World appointed by the government to talk about their experiences as survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings in various countries around the world.
The group of nine Hibakusha (nuclear bomb survivors) is now travelling on the Peace Boat to over 20 ports around the world at which they will speak at special events organised as part of the Peace Boat Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World.
Prime Minister Kan noted on his blog that “Ultimately, the Special Communicators will represent a great progress of people, or humanity, when the world reaches the stage of abolishing nuclear weapons from all countries.”
The Institute for Law, Accountability and Peace (INLAP) and World Court Project UK have launched a Citizens’ Affirmation on the Criminality of any use of Nuclear Weapons, and invite anyone to endorse. The Affirmation says:
I consider that any use of nuclear weapons for any purpose what-so-ever by my government or anyone else would be a Crime Against Humanity and a War Crime. I refuse to accept any use or threatened use of nuclear weapons in my name or on my behalf and call upon the government to renounce and prevent all uses of nuclear weapons.
The initiative is based on the very successful Declarations of Public Conscience that World Court Project UK initiated in 1992 to support the International Court of Justice case against nuclear weapons – and which were very influential in demonstrating to the ICJ judges that the ‘dictates of public conscience’ referred to in the Hague and Geneva Conventions clearly indicated widespread public aversion to nuclear weapons.
On 17 February 2011, a group of policy experts released the Santa Barbara Declaration on Nuclear Deterrence, following a two-day conference on the issue. The declaration outlines the fallacies, illegality and risks of nuclear deterrence, and calls for its replacement by humane, legal and moral security strategies. The Declaration is perhaps the best public education document available on nuclear deterrence. Its arguments are simple, but not simplistic, cutting through the flawed logic of nuclear deterrence that masquerades as political and academic ‘realism’ in attempting to defend the indefensible. Mayors, parliamentarians and civil society organisations in nuclear weapon States and countries covered by extended nuclear deterrence doctrines, can use this declaration to expose the fallacy of their governments’ nuclear addiction and move them to abandon nuclear deterrence. Sign onto the declaration at www.wagingpeace.org/goto/declaration.
For additional background and arguments see:
- Security Without Nuclear Deterrence by Commander Robert Green;
- Breaking free from nuclear deterrence (video), 10th Annual Frank K. Kelly Lecture on Humanity’s Future delivered by Commander Robert Green on 17 February 2011.
- Implementing the vision – time to close the nuclear umbrella by 10 high-level parliamentarians and former parliamentarians from countries allied to the US and which either accept, or previously accepted, extended nuclear deterrence.
The Middle Powers Initiative (MPI) established in 1998 by a group of eight leading international NGOs, has proposed a draft United Nations resolution to implement the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Five-Point-Proposal for Nuclear Disarmament. The resolution calls on the Secretary-General “to convene a Preparatory Conference of all States, in the first half of 2012, to discuss the procedures which may be employed to establish the agenda and modalities of a Diplomatic Conference on Nuclear Disarmament to begin meeting in 2014, to reach agreement on the texts of a convention or a framework of separate, mutually reinforcing instruments, open to accession by all States, providing for universal, verifiable, and irreversible nuclear disarmament;”
MPI is consulting with key governments on the proposal with the aim of building sufficient support for it to be introduced at the UN General Assembly in October this year.
For further information contact Alyn Ware.
Photo: Ban Ki-moon presenting his nuclear disarmament proposal
Ratification of the New START treaty by the United States Senate in December 2010 and by both houses of the Russian Parliament in February 2011 have opened the door to further disarmament steps by the US and Russia – and also to disarmament steps by the P5 (China, France, Russia, the UK and the US) as agreed by them at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
In follow-up to New START ratification, nearly 60 policy experts from 5 continents endorsed a letter to the US Congress and Russian State Duma Committees on Foreign Affairs and Defence calling for them use their influence in policy-making to increase the time available for decision-making in nuclear crises by the de-alerting of all nuclear weapons systems that remain on high operational readiness (i.e. readiness for use in minutes). The statement notes that:
A stratospheric soot layer produced by firestorms from the use of those weapons (on alert) would drastically lower global temperatures and cause catastrophic damage to the Earth’s protective ozone layer, causing widespread famine and species extinction. De-alerting will not by itself completely eliminate the possibilities of a nuclear first strike or of nuclear retaliation. Either would spell catastrophe for the entire world. However it does render nuclear weapons use based on miscalculation, malfunction, or incorrect information much less likely, and make further steps to the elimination of nuclear weapons easier.
For more information contact: John Hallam.
In another follow-up action, Sergey Kolesnikov, Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) personally delivered a letter from himself and the other PNND Co-Presidents (leading legislators from Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Tanzania, United Kingdom and the United States) to Boris Gryzlov (Speaker of the Russian Parliament) and Konstantin Kosachev (Chair of the Russian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee), commending the legislature for ratifying New START and pledging assistance in the process of nuclear disarmament and common security building to achieve the global prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. The US and Russia are now entering the next stage of START negotiations:
Photo: Presidents Obama and Medvedev sign New START
On 27 January 2011, the Abolition 2000 Working Group on Nuclear Energy released an International Appeal for a Future without Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Energy. The appeal notes the forthcoming 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (see Coming Events below), argues that nuclear energy is not a solution to prevent climate change, is hazardous to health, is extremely expensive counting the overall costs, and is a technology that cannot be sufficiently controlled – being a pre-requisite for the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The working group is seeking endorsements for the appeal from organisations. Contact: IALANA, Schützenstraße 6a, 10117 Berlin, Germany. Fax: +49 30 206 54 858. Email: email@example.com (subject: future without nuclear)
8. Nuclear Abolition Forum – Dialogue on the Process to Achieve and Sustain a Nuclear Weapons Free World
A number of leading institutes and non-governmental organizations have recently established the Nuclear Abolition Forum – a periodical and website for dialogue between academics, governments, disarmament experts and NGOs on key issues regarding the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons under a Nuclear Weapons Convention or package of agreements, and the process to achieve this.
The Forum website, to be launched in May 2011, will include a database of existing articles and documents on the range of issues surrounding a nuclear weapons conventions, as well as opportunities for comment and the periodical which will focus on specific issues or elements (technical, legal, institutional and political) for achieving and maintaining a nuclear-weapons-free world.
The Forum will seek to include a variety of perspectives rather than advocating any particular approach to achieving a nuclear-weapons-free world. This could include contributions from those who have put forward specific proposals, as well as from those who do not yet believe that nuclear abolition is possible, or who are not yet convinced of the merits of a comprehensive approach. Attention would however be given to examining and critiquing the framework for achieving and sustaining a nuclear-weapons-free world rather than focusing solely or primarily on the next immediate steps.
For more information contact: Rob van Riet, Director, Nuclear Abolition Forum, World Future Council, 100 Pall Mall, St. James, London SW1Y 5NQ, United Kingdom. Tel.: +44 (0) 20 7321 3810 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7321 3738. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Coming events:
The Japanese government and United Nations University are co-sponsoring an international conference “Global Forum on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education” in Nagasaki on March 17-18, 2011. This is an unique conference that builds on a 2002 UN Experts Panel and the 2010 NPT Review Conference and promotes discussions among officials, experts, NGOs and educators about the future steps to take, the outcomes of which will be announced to the world community as a Nagasaki Declaration. For more information contact the Peace Promotion Section of Nagasaki City.
The International Network of Emerging Nuclear Specialists (INENS) is a new organization for young policy analysts. INENS focuses on all aspects of the nuclear field, including political, legal, scientific, technical, energy, academia, research, advocacy and campaigning. INENS will be hosting its first North America Nuclear Policy Dialogue, a two-day conference in Washington DC on 26-27 March. The purpose of the conference is to foster dialogue and information exchange between established experts and emerging specialists in the broad nuclear community. The conference will include workshops on the Multilateral Arms Reduction Framework; US-Russia: Next Steps; Strengthening the IAEA; Nuclear Security; Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreements; Strengthening the NPT; and the Conference on Disarmament & the FMCT.
The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability will be bringing anti-nuclear activists from around the United States to Washington DC from April 3-6 to campaign for nuclear disarmament. DC Days will include a focus on the nuclear weapons budget – especially opposing the funds being spent on nuclear modernization. Activists will deliver some “Nuclear Reality Check$” to Congress and the Obama Administration. For more information contact: email@example.com
The German affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Physicians for Social Responsibility in cooperation with the Society for Radiation Protection, the Physicians of Chernobyl, the Scientists Initiative for Peace and Sustainability and the Nuclear Free Future Award invite you to Berlin for a Congress on Chernobyl: 25 Years After – Stop the Nuclear Timebomb – Abandon Nuclear Power Now! from April 8th to 10th. Apart from new information on the health and environmental effects of the disaster, we will be discussing aspects of the nuclear chain and how the chain fits together, including uranium mining, nuclear weapons and nuclear waste. Campaigns and actions on nuclear abolition – both in the civil and military sector – will be presented at the Congress, including a discussion of how to connect campaigns and work on an international level. On Sunday the Nuclear Free Future Award will announce this year’s winners of the awards in the categories of resistance, education and solutions. For further information see www.chernobylcongress.org
The International Peace Bureau and the Institute for Policy Studies have joined together to organize a Global Day of Action Against Military Spending on April 12 – to coincide with the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s annual report, which includes the latest new figures on military expenditures around the world. Click here to find an event in your city to support or organize your own event using the organizer’s packet.
In the early hours of 26 April 1986 one of the four reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, just north of Kiev, exploded. The meltdown was the worst nuclear accident ever. Thousands have died as a result and millions have had their health severely affected. Alexei Yablokov from the Russian Academy of Sciences reports that “Prior to 1985 more than 80% of children in the Chernobyl territories of Belarus, Ukraine, and European Russia were healthy; today fewer than 20% are well. In the heavily contaminated areas it is difficult to find one healthy child.” (See Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, New York Academy of Sciences, Boston, Massachusetts 2009). This year marks the 25th anniversary of the accident with many organisations planning commemorative events. The Bellona Foundation has sent out a special request for people to organise commemoration events in their cities. See Chernobyl 25 facebook page. For more information see Chernobyl Day (Greenpeace) or contact the Abolition 2000 Nuclear Energy Working Group or the Radiation Health Effects Working Group.
Abolition 2000 Update is a regular update of progress and actions for a global treaty to abolish nuclear weapons. Please send any items for inclusion in the next update to firstname.lastname@example.org
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