WE HAVE BANNED THE BOMB

Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Adopted at UN

After a decade-long effort by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and 72 years after their invention, today states at the United Nations formally adopted a treaty which categorically prohibits nuclear weapons. Scottish CND has been a partner in ICAN since 2007

Until now, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction without a ban treaty, despite the widespread and catastrophic humanitarian consequences across the world of their intentional or accidental detonation. Biological weapons were banned in 1972 and chemical weapons in 1992.

ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said:

“We hope that today marks the beginning of the end of the nuclear age. It is beyond question that nuclear weapons violate the laws of war and pose a clear danger to global security. It is time for leaders around the world to match their values and words with action by signing and ratifying this treaty as a first step towards eliminating nuclear weapons.”

Bill Kidd MSP, Co-President of Parliamentarians for Non- Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament, added:

“All of the UK’s nuclear arsenal is based in Scotland, against the wishes of the Scottish Government the votes of the Scottish Parliament and the expressed will of the Scottish people. As a member of the Scottish Parliament, along with colleagues from Scottish Civil Society I am here in New York to speak up on behalf of our nation. The Prohibition Treaty will present a significant opportunity to present nuclear disarmament as a serious option on the table at international negotiations.”

The “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” was adopted today and will open for signature by states at the United Nations in New York on September 20, 2017. Civil society organizations, including those from the wider peace movement in Scotland, have participated in the negotiations as well as more than 140 member states of the UN

This treaty came about because  the majority of the world no longer accepts nuclear weapons as legitimate tools of war. The repeated objection and boycott of the negotiations by the UK and other nuclear-weapon states demonstrates that the treaty will impact on their behavior and stature and in changing the international view of nuclear weapons will change policies and behaviors, even in states that will not yet sign the treaty.

“Scotland’s opposition to the weapons in our country is in line with the global norm,” said Janet Fenton from the Scottish civil society delegation, “and now we have a great tool that can help us in our work to get rid of them.”

The treaty identifies obligations to the victims of nuclear weapons use and testing and to remediate the environmental damage caused.

From the beginning, the effort to ban nuclear weapons has had support of international humanitarian, environmental and disarmament organisations in more than 100 states including Scotland. Around the world, they signed petitions, joined protests, contacted representatives, and pressured governments. This year, Scottish CND established a Ban Treaty Working Group to prepare for New York.

ENDS ENDS

The website which documents and reports on activities and negotiations at the UN is http://www.nuclearban.scot

Trident Ploughshares are holding a disarmament camp at Coulport to respond to the treaty’s adoption.

http://www.tridentploughshares.org

More information about ICAN can be found on www.icanw.org.

 

THREAT: Ban military preparation in the new treaty

The discussions are now focused on the second draft of the proposed treaty to ban nuclear weapons ongoing in New York, and it is going well. There are still some additional improvements that we hope can be made, and one is to address ‘threat of use.’ Many states at the negotiations have asked about incorporating a prohibition on the threat of use of nuclear weapons. One way to get this is to have an explicit prohibition on military preparations for use.

Military preparations could include refuelling aircraft, exercises in preparation for use or targeting and other fighting arrangements. These are examples of activities but are not he only ones. Any concrete or tangible activity could be included, and this has been done with the chemical weapons convention, for example. This would remove or reduce the facilities needed for general military planning and training. It would also undermine or de legitimise the nuclear weapons secret structures, and lead to a more communicative approach with more democratic accountability for military planning decisions and improved open collective approaches to military alliances. This allows a shared public understanding of how these work and what they are. It is important to remember that NATO may have a nuclear strike policy, but that policy is not entrenched in the treaty itself, and could be changed. Modifications to the planes for example, would prevent future nuclear weapons capabilities. If the ban treaty includes the prohibition on military planning, that would accelerate the change in view of nuclear weapons away from ideas of stability to an understanding that nuclear weapons are instruments of terror and instability, and this will, at last, undermine and discredit the entrenched but psychotic and dangerous concept of deterrence.

The democratic benefit of transparent and accountable practice can, at last, provide the possibility of exploring ideological differences without risking the survival of our species.

from New York – half way there!

Continuing into this week of the negotiations, everyone is very aware of the deadline ahead, and it seems that the diplomats share civil society’s ardent desire to create an effective and unambiguous treaty by the end of the negotiating period.

The closed sessions continued today, allowing for questioning and plain speaking . Side events and work done outside the room was also looking forward in some respects, addressing how the finished treaty might be shared and what our collective and separate next steps might be. This included pushing forward on the ideas from our Scottish panel and extending them to explore ways that nuclear armed states and those that see themselves as dependent can share experience and tactics to build capacity, so a group is becoming established to do that. It was seen as essential to discredit any suggestion that the treaty is some sort of protest about who has the power instead of an expression of how inherently unacceptable nuclear weapons have been proved to be.

We hope that there has been sufficient mention from member states to ensure adding to the treaty’s main prohibitions threat of use, financing, military alliance planning, and transit. Fixing health and environmental impacts must be undertaken without discrimination, a binding responsibility that gives an entitlement to assistance from all states. If, as we hope, threat is one of the prohibitions we need to be ready to move forward in public education that the dogma of so-called nuclear deterrence has at last been discredited as a legitimate activity in any international relations that comply with the principles of United Nations.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/30835738@N03/

We also had some fun outside the UN with some masks and our own, non-lethal and non-radioactive ‘bomb’ as you can see in our action pictures. In addition to those, and some great new videos – Beatrice explaining the main elements of the new draft version of the treaty, and the International Red Cross and Red Resent video you can find on Facebook. Key arguments were strongly communicated in the conference by diplomats as well as some great inputs from the NGOs. (Most of these cannot be attributed or reported from the closed door sessions.)

At the close of today’s session, Dr Rebecca Johnson spoke to diplomats about four outstanding requirements.

First, a secretariat to promote the Treaty’s purposes and implementation would be able to engage with other bodies and also with states that are seeking to join.

Secondly, the the treaty should be of unlimited duration and not permit withdrawal.

Withdrawing from this Treaty would threaten international peace, security, human rights and our globally shared environment. At the very least if there must be withdrawal arrangement they should require a minimum of 24 months notice to give time to examine reasons and ensure that withdrawal did not suggest a security value in nuclear weapons or threaten global peace and security, as underpinned in the UN Charter.

Thirdly, to make it as inviting and credible as possible for states to join, implement and comply with the treaty,whether they choose to join and then implement, or to implement and then join in all cases to ensure necessary international verification and accountability. The text must avoid creating confusion or loopholes.

And lastly, while welcoming support and reinforcement of the NPT’s core objectives of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, it is wrongful and also unnecessary for this Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty to mention any form of civilian energy production anywhere in its text. Referring to NPT “rights” is not only legally unnecessary, as the two treaties will exist alongside each other, but potentially dangerous.

 

CAN SCOTLAND DISARM THE UK?

In any referendum on independence, the people of Scotland are afforded a rare privilege, the power to cast a vote which can lead to nuclear disarmament. In the United States and France there has never been an election where a party advocating nuclear disarmament had a serious prospect of winning. Support for disarmament is widespread across society and civic Scotland, beyond the Scottish National Party membership to include Greens, Socialists and many individuals who eschew party politics. If Scots reject nuclear weapons, the UK would not have an alternative site.

Trident would not be relocated. Scotland free of nuclear weapons will lead to London having to scrap Trident and its replacement. Relocating Trident is not like moving house. In fact, finding a site for Trident would be far harder than trying to shift a nuclear power station. Two new facilities would be needed: a submarine base to replace Faslane and a nuclear weapons’ depot to replace Coulport. The second would be the biggest problem.The original choice of site was Scotland, and possible locations that were rejected are now even less viable. Greenfield sites are scarce, and nuclear activity is permissible only on existing nuclear sites.

The Scottish Affairs Committee of the UK Government considered the issue in 2012. Nick Harvey, Armed Forces Minister, said that relocating Trident was “the least favoured option, ”adding ”it would take a very long time to complete and would cost a gargantuan sum of money”. He told them, “Coulport would be very difficult.” Rear Admiral Alabaster said, “it would be very difficult – in fact, I would almost use the word ‘inconceivable’ – to recreate the facilities necessary to mount the strategic deterrent, without the use of Faslane and Coulport.” The Committee concluded, “Identifying and recreating a suitable base to replace Faslane and Coulport would be highly problematic, very expensive, and fraught with political difficulties.”

Utilising a facility abroad was also discussed. The UK government response to the Scottish Affairs Committee summarised the problems, “Operations from any base in the USA or France would greatly compromise the independence of the deterrent and there would be significant political and legal obstacles.” The Scottish Affairs Committee in the House of Commons acknowledged that unilateral nuclear disarmament would be an inevitable consequence of independence, if a Scottish government pursued current SNP policy and insisted on safe removal of Trident. Rear Admiral John McAnally, former Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies, said “If Britain were expelled from Faslane…it could be forced into unilateral nuclear disarmament”.

In June 2012 Scottish CND published a report which argued that the Trident nuclear weapon system could be put beyond use within 7 days, that all nuclear warheads could be removed from Scotland within 2 years and that they could all be dismantled within 4 years. The Scottish Affairs Committee of the House of Commons said: “ We accept the analysis of Scottish CND that, with the cooperation of the Navy and the UK Government, this process would be both speedy and safe” and the Scottish Government’s response was: “We are firmly committed to the earliest possible withdrawal of Trident from Scotland …. The suggested timetable is a welcome indication of how quickly Trident could be removed once Scotland has the powers to decide its own defence and security policy” The removal of Trident might be even more rapid. If the appearance of an independent anti-nuclear Scotland was imminent, Washington might insist that the American built missiles and the nuclear warheads, which contain American components, were removed from Faslane and Comport, and not left on the territory of an actively anti-nuclear sovereign state.

While the arms industries in England and America might try to use their muscle, we will have support from the many non-nuclear nations who are behind the global initiative for the Ban Treaty. It is wrong to suggest that if Britain abandoned Trident this would have no effect on the rest of the world. It could break the logjam and lead to wider progress towards nuclear disarmament. With a nuclear-free UK, France would have to reassess its expensive nuclear programme.

We must secure a constitutional clause for a future independent Scotland that puts nuclear weapons beyond the pale for any future Scottish Government. The Ban Treaty creates an imperative, and it underscores existing enthusiasm. Scotland’s commitment to nuclear disarmament is growing and becoming more articulate, a process which has gained traction since devolution and the establishment of a devolved parliament elected by proportional representation.

Scotland’s legal institutions and system of law was maintained after the union of the crowns and the parliaments of England and Scotland. It is distinct and separate from the rest of the UK. In 2009, a high-level legal conference was convened to consider Trident and International Law; Scotland’s Obligations. His excellency the late Judge Christopher Weeramantry, former vice-president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) told the conference that while defence matters are reserved to The UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament has international humanitarian and legal obligations that weapons of mass destruction violate. He said, “ Gross violations of international obligations aren’t excluded from the purview of the Scottish Parliament. The absence of power in the former area cannot cancel out its responsibilities in the latter.” He also asserted that non-violent resistance to nuclear weaponry could be justified in international law.

Anti-nuclear civil resistance is the right of every citizen of this planet. For the nuclear threat, attacking as it does every core concept of human rights, calls for urgent and universal action of its prevention.”

Non violent direct action has led to court cases where the legal status of the UK’s nuclear weapons sited in Scotland is challenged and reported. Tracking and recording the movements of warheads on public roads has led to many more people in Scotland becoming aware of the danger and the impunity in the UK Government’s actions in disregarding the will of the people.

Despite Prime Minister May’s view that the time for another referendum on Scottish independence is ‘ not now’, the current political situation in the UK and the increased support for Jeremy Corbyn might lead to a new opportunity to vote on Scotland’s future sooner rather than later. The Ban Treaty will be a spur to that happening, as we hope that Scottish opposition to UK nuclear policy can be a spur to changing it.

Note:

Further information from the late John Ainslie’s reports No Place for Trident and Disarming Trident on the Scottish CND website (http://www.banthebomb.org/index.php/publications/reports) or the office in Glasgow, his chapter in Reaching Critical Will’s Assuring Destruction for Ever and also from Trident and International Law – Scotland’s Obligations, published by Luath, Edinburgh

BANNING THE BOMB AT UN

The final session in the time that the United Nations allocated for its members to produce a treaty to ban nuclear weapons has began today.

In March, 133 states and numerous delegates to the Conference from the world’s civil society organisations made presentations and had the discussions that enabled the Chair, Ambassador Elaine Whyte Gomez from Costa Rica and her team to produce the draft text for the treaty that will now be at the centre of the work to be done between now and the 7th July when it is anticipated that the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty will be ready for signing.

There was powerful sense of excitement and an enthusiasm for the work amongst civil society representatives as well as the diplomats as the first part of the treaty, the preamble that identifies all the core elements to be incorporated, was explored one paragraph at a time. While one could imagine that this would be a dry and pedantic process, no one involved lost sight for one second of the significance of the task being undertaken and the consideration and attentive listening created a very exciting sense of progress and hope.

The activity was enthusiastically and prolifically shared on social media, and messages of support and appreciation were flowing in from across the world, for this ban is what’s wanted and needed by so many of the people in so many places.

Many states had similar ideas about how to augment what was in the draft, with discussions around the gendered impact of the harm and of the importance of women’s voices in the dialogue, and the importance of integrating recognition of the impact of nuclear weapons on social and economic development.

Most states and civil society wanted to strengthen the draft provisions around international humanitarian law and there was recognition that the treaty needs to clearly function in relation to existing legal instruments, including the Non Proliferation Treaty while addressing the shortcomings of these.

There were smiles and greetings in and outside the room, and the first side event of the conference, which considered how the treaty would be verified and the questions arising for both nuclear free and nuclear armed states.

We hope that agreements can be reached threat, and preparations to use nuclear weapons, and the Scottish delegates are particularly interested in the issues of the transit of nuclear weapons and hoping for an explicit prohibition on this and also on financing, and look forward to tomorrow’s side events, the launch of the latest counter arguments book from Quaker Peace and Social Witness Tim Wallis, and a pizza party with an opportunity to make banners and other props in preparation for Saturday, and the Women’s March to Ban The Bomb.

DRAFT BAN TREATY RELEASED

People in Scotland have been chanting ‘ban the bomb’ since the first US weapons came up the Clyde, so let’s be celebrating this week’s big news! The chair of the UN Conference to ban the bomb, Costa Rican ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez, released the first draft of the Ban Treaty in Geneva, Switzerland, on 22 May. She presented the text to diplomats and civil society representatives then took questions from the media. This draft is based on the elements identified by the 133 member states and the NGOs at the UN in March at the first round of the UN Conference, and it will be the basis of the final three weeks of intense talks during June and early July.

The Ban Treaty draft outlines how the Treaty will enter into effect , which can happen once 40 nations sign and ratify it. Signing by ambassadors can happen very quickly but it can take a wee bit longer for ratification. Essentially, each nation has its own process to incorporate the treaty into its own legal system, so it is law rather than an agreement by the government of the day, but the timescale will be months rather than years.

We need to get everyone talking and sharing this great news – it seems hard to credit that we are finally actually prohibiting nuclear weapons, but we are and this can lead to their elimination in time to save the world. Everyone can help.

On the first Saturday of the negotiations, June 17th The Women’s March To Ban The Bomb, in New York is being organised by WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) an ICAN founder member which has been instrumental in co-ordinating civil society’s important part in gaining the Ban Treaty. The plan is for representatives from as many countries as possible to take part in the march and rally, and to support the march at home too. The Scottish Working Group for the Ban will have our Scottish delegation in New York out with a big new banner. Check Facebook and this website to see the gatherings happening here in Scotland.

The nuclear weapons states which have said that they will not join the treaty will be stigmatised and shamed and the practical arrangements for the so-called nuclear “protection” services to the “umbrella” states will be affected in ways that will turn a political asset into a dangerous liability. The NATO states in Europe are good prospects for breaking with the nuclear alliance, and hopefully the SNP will see that clearly.  Once any question hanging over the legality of any nuclear weapon is resolved there is a clear argument that will convince banks and pension funds to disinvest and that will impact on the nuclear weapons states ability to continue their modernisation and upgrading programmes. Check out Don’t Bank On The Bomb on facebook or the ICAN website for more info. See the http://www.nuclearban.scot website for the Good News in a Scottish accent.

THE WORLD – NAE PLACE FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Friday was the last day of the first session of the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty discussions in New York. Second session starts in June till the beginning of July.

There was an exuberant excitement in the room at the enormous significance of what is happening, hard to communicate in the UK because the UK Government has resolutely ignoring the negotiations as their main tactic for resisting the coming change in nuclear posturing. and the UK media seem to be complying with that.

During the Civil Society debrief at the end of the session, New York  International Lawyer Alice Slater, who has been working in this area and attending UN meetings for forty years, said that she had never seen such good progress and open dialogue  in a UN disarmament meeting. She was very excited!

At the present count, 132 UN Member states have participated in this meeting. We started with considerations of what the preamble should include and the first topic of the treaty, when states could outline their views on what the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons should contain. Topic one outlined the prohibitions and topic two focused on obligations. This set out prohibitions and obligations that stigmatise nuclear weapons . On Wednesday afternoon, the President suggested that member states’ delegates could engage in an interactive dialogue with civil society experts on the issues under topic 2, working to identify what the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons should contain in the way of obligations, and how it will relate to existing humanitarian law and other legal instruments governing nuclear weapons and other kinds of indiscriminate weapons. And the format for Thursday allowed thoughtful deliberation and exchanges, and a useful example of how the United Nations can operate in terms of open, fluid conversation amongst states, international organisations, academics, and non-governmental organisations. This was particularly helpful around the positive obligations for states parties, such as ensuring the rights of victims and survivors of nuclear weapons activities, identifying actions to address damage to affected environments and providing for international cooperation and assistance to meet the obligations of the treaty.

The final session,  on the third topic, looked at the Institutional arrangements, continued in the same spirit, ensuring the process was open to all interested states, international organisations and civil society with no state able to singlehandedly block the treaty’s establishment. Its also important that it is compatible with, or reinforces existing treaties, and that there are robust arrangements for how it is implemented and how it comes into force. This topic also considers the necessary arrangements regarding participation in the negotiations – how and who.

The nuclear weapon ban treaty is a categorical rejection of nuclear weapons. Its overarching objective is to help facilitate the elimination of nuclear weapons. The treaty can and should be seen as part of the larger architecture of general and complete disarmament, and of peace, security, and human rights. It is not an end itself, but a tool.
Getting there requires creativity, especially when the nine states that possess nuclear weapons have exhibited no good faith commitment to nuclear disarmament. The discussions are creating a pathway to disarmament.

The president Elaine Whyte now has the task of drawing together all the views suggested to create the first draft,.All of us hoping for a strong and effective treaty must consider what we can do in the inter sessional period before the discussions on that draft start in June,

The non participating states ‘protest’ stunt outside on the first day, saw the UK right up there outside the room, misrepresenting Scotland with even more insouciance than they demonstrated over Brexit. They offered no new information though, and they did not offer any explanation of how they can comply with the NPT and at the same time upgrade Trident. Despite their cavalier insistence that the weapons will all be deployed from Scotland, there is no explanation on offer of how they would renew, or even continue, with Trident without control of Faslane.

Meanwhile, the important point for Scots is that independence can bring an end to all that. With the lack of infrastructure and amenities anywhere else in the UK, a fact that the UK Government nor the MOD has never denied*, Scotland could non-violently force the issue, and start the badly needed unravelling of the P5 and their nuclear addiction problem. The majority of states are moving inexorably to creating the Ban Treaty. Those who support independence for Scotland should welcome these negotiations as the other arm in a pincer movement that will ensure that UK can no longer be a nuclear weapons state.

There is a real possibility of Scotland taking concrete steps towards a world free of nuclear weapons through:

  1. Scrapping Trident

  2. Committing to, and eventually joining the Nuclear Ban Treaty

That’s why its important that people in Scotland who are serious about nuclear disarmament support independence, and people in Scotland who want independence work for nuclear disarmament. Win win!

The World – nae place for nuclear weapons

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

We must continue to promulgate Scotland’s opposition to nuclear weapons

BREXIT is just one aspect of UK foreign policy where Scotland is in global democratic deficit. The UN Global Ban Treaty is another. It is supported by an overwhelming majority of UN states (123 for, 38 against) but sadly Scotland is not one of them, despite the formal support of the First Minister, backed by the opposition of Scottish CND and the direct action campaigners, the churches and the unions. The UK voted against, and will boycott negotiations in March.

We need this debate to be fully aired. Theresa May needs to engage with the ban, instead of offering the Non Proliferation Treaty rhetoric that has failed to deliver multilateral disarmament for decades. The international disarmament community regards Scotland highly and would like us to succeed. In the run-up to the independence referendum of 2014 Trident was high on the news agenda because neither the UK Government nor the Ministry of Defence could deny that unless they imposed their system on Scotland, Trident would have no place to go.

Basing the new Dreadnought replacement for Trident at Faslane continues Westminster’s heedlessness by placing its nuclear liability in a country that has rebutted them here – or anywhere. This is the key point about Faslane.

Brexit was one of the significant decisions made since the independence referendum. There were others. Mrs May had hardly sat down to breakfast before putting Trident replacement to a vote that Scotland could never win, even with all hands on deck. The UN debate on a nuclear ban treaty caused the US Government to write to Nato member states, admitting a ban would preclude “nuclear security”. The Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock inched the closest since the Cold War to the point that is the beginning of all our ends. Less significant is the UK’s decision to sending the whole nuclear fleet to Faslane which may be no more than an effort to consolidate Westminster’s control?

We need to envision how resources can be devoted to real peace and human security for Scotland, rather than bolstering imperialistic outdated formulae.

Scotland, with its distinct legal system, has rights and responsibilities and under international humanitarian law may be able to insist that nuclear weapons are removed.

These are the matters that require debate.

OPEN LETTER TO BORIS JOHNSON

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

Janet Fenton

(representing SCND and S WILPF at the OEWG and UN First Committee Meeting)

Bill Kidd MSP as (representing PNND at the OEWG and UN First Committee Meeting).

Scottish CND

Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre

Scottish Peace Network

Scrap Trident Coalition

Scrap Trident Coalition
Scotland’s for Peace

The Scottish branch of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Parliamentarians for Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation

Stop The War (in STC)

Green Party (in STC)

Quakers (in STC)

Trident Ploughshares in Scotland

Michael Russell MSP

Maree Todd MSP

John Mason MSP

Ben Macpherson MSP
Paul Wheelhouse MSP

Ivan McKee MSP

Tom Arthur

Christine Grahame

Linda Fabiani

Sandra White MSP

Graeme Dey MSP

Joe FitzPatrick, MSP

Annabelle Ewing, MSP

Willie Coffey  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