Today’s start of the United Nations negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban treaty means that multilateral nuclear disarmament efforts is at last in sight. This has come about through the examination of the real humanitarian consequences of these unspeakably destructive weapons that threaten life on this planet and even when not used, cause genetic and environmental damage beyond the imagination.
As part of its efforts to derail the process prior to the vote for this conference, the US had written to all its NATO allies to point out how difficult the ban treaty would make their nuclear ‘protection’ while simultaneously putting out press comments saying that that the treaty would be unenforceable and without meaning. Now the US are using their access to UN, not to enter the room and make their arguments in an open and accountable way, but to “protest” by offering a briefing on why they won’t participate. They are addressing the media (and any member states who will listen) but not taking questions.
The UK were right up there with them, misrepresenting Scotland with even more insouciance than they demonstrated over Brexit, despite their cavalier insistence that the weapons all be deployed from Scotland.
Independence, of course, will bring an end to all that, with the lack of infrastructure and amenities anywhere else in the UK, Scotland could non-violently force the issue, and start the badly needed unravelling of the P5 and their nuclear addiction problem.
The UN conference, which is open to all member states, starts today March 27th and runs till the end of the month, then continues in June and July.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), is a coalition from 100 countries of civil society partners who are active on nuclear disarmament. They hail the start of the conference as a major step forward.
Biological weapons, chemical weapons, anti-personnel land-mines and cluster munitions have already been prohibited under international law. . The position of the states that do not choose to deploy nuclear weapons, and do not see them as any kind of security asset, can easily be understood in Scotland, a state not in UN membership that is forced against the expressed needs and wishes of its electorate to host nuclear weapons.
A ban treaty is only binding on the states that sign up to it,. Achieving that is a first step in unlocking the imagination required to vision a world where sharing our resources and seeking reconciliation are the first response to conflict rather than the last. Declaring these inhumane and indiscriminate means of mutual destruction for what they are, and making them unacceptable in the majority of states will change their status from political asset to the humanitarian liability they really are. Work for the ban treaty includes the important contributions that can be made by civil society . Non member states which have access as observers may be heard. Maybe an opportunity for Scotland while waiting for independence. (Scottish CND is a partner in ICAN and convenes a working group for those working for the ban treaty in Scotland.
We in ICAN hope that many more civil society groups will choose to help to make representations to their elected representatives and get all the governments to the table, and also come themselves to New York for the June and July sessions of the conference. Meanwhile, follow the news on nuclearban.org and the daily news from Reaching critical will