February 10, 2015
Fourteen prominent organizations have urged the Canadian government to cease objecting to and start working for a global law to eliminate all nuclear weapons.
In a letter to Canada’s new Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson, prepared by Beverley J. T. Delong, Chairperson of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the organisations warned that deteriorating relations between the major nuclear powers, the US and Russia, have heightened the risk of nuclear conflict. Those two states possess 95 percent of the world’s 16,300 nuclear weapons, which include a frightening number on high-alert status.
Citing the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of nuclear warfare, the letter called on Canada to: “Support the commencement of work on a Nuclear Weapons Convention in a forum not subject to veto and cease objecting to the negotiation of such a convention as being somehow incompatible with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
The letter, emerging out a recent seminar held in Ottawa, appealed to the government to take action to protect the viability of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which will undergo a month-long review at the UN starting April 27.
“Given the huge stake Canada has in the future viability of the NPT and the global nuclear governance based on it, we believe some focused efforts are warranted,” the letter said.
A Nuclear Weapons Convention, called for by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, would be a global treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons.
The letter called on the government to publish a strategy paper setting out Canada’s priority aims and to revive Canada’s capacity for verification technology to ensure compliance with nuclear agreements. It also requested the government to host a meeting of like-minded states as called for by the Middle Powers Initiative. The government should also work more closely with civil society representatives.
Contact: Cesar Jaramillo, Program Officer, Project Ploughshares
The 14 organizations signing the CNANW letter are:
Antennes de paix/Pax Christi Montreal
Les Artistes pour la Paix
Canadian Federation of University Women
Canadian Peace Alliance/L’Alliance canadienne pour la paix
Canadian Pugwash Group, Board of Directors
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace/La Voix des Femmes
Physicians for Global Survival / Médecins pour la Survie Mondiale
Religions for Peace Canada
Rideau Institute on International Affairs
Science for Peace
United Nations Association in Canada/ Association canadienne pour les Nations Unies
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Canada
World Federalist Movement – Canada/ Mouvement Fédéraliste Mondial – Canada