Open Letter to Boris Johnson, UK FCO
regarding the UN First Committee discussions on a Global Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty
to On Friday 19 August 2016, the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on nuclear disarmament in Geneva adopted a final report with a recommendation for the General Assembly in October “to convene a conference in 2017 to negotiate a new legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons”. In September, the Austrian Foreign Minister announced that Austria would table a resolution at the UN First Committee in October to convene negotiations on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons in 2017
An overwhelming majority of states have expressed support for starting negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons, while following the OEWG in which they chose not to participate, the UK chose to make a decision instead to modernise and upgrade their nuclear arsenals.
All but one of Scotland’s Westminster representatives opposed this decision. The overwhelming majority of non-nuclear weapon states are ready to act on the humanitarian imperative to ban nuclear weapons with a treaty that could ensure eventual compliance with the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT)’s third pillar, the elimination in good faith of nuclear weapons, which is the stated objective as well as the legal obligation of the UK Government.
The debate on this resolution has been heard at the UN First Committee meeting in New York, and a vote will be taken before the 2nd November. At this critical time, however, several states continue to try to thwart the will of the majority and stop negotiations on a ban treaty. They are intensifying their efforts as the United Nations First Committee prepares to vote to initiate a negotiation process.
The UK government should acknowledge the diversity of opinion in the UK with especial regard to Scotland, where the UK’s weapons are hosted. The views expressed by Scotland’s elected representatives at Westminster and in the Parliament at Holyrood should be included in negotiations. We request that the UK Government should at the very least cease their efforts to prevent these negotiations from taking place, and instead agree to participate in the process of negotiation.
We expect that the UK Government in this process could offer meaningful suggestions of how they propose to carry out the elimination that they accept is required of them by the NPT Article Vl rather than choosing to close down discussion against the inclination of the majority of global opinion.
Arthur West, Chair of Scottish CND on behalf of
(representing SCND and S WILPF at the OEWG and UN First Committee Meeting)
Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre
Maree Todd MSP
John Mason MSP
Sandra White MSP
Joe FitzPatrick, MSP
Annabelle Ewing, MSP
James Dornan MSP
Christina McKelvie SNP MSP
Rona Mackay MSP
Clare Haughey MSP
Ruth Maguire MSP
Andy Wightman MSP
Patrick Harvie MSP
John Finnie MSP
Ross Greer MSP
Alison Johnsonon MSP
Mark Ruskell MSP