Citizen Monitors Put UK WMD Base on Notice

Citizen Monitors Put UK WMD Base on Notice

Today an international group of citizen monitors visited Faslane naval base on the Clyde estuary to advice its operators that their activity is prohibited under international law as confirmed by the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)1.

Vicki Elson, Anthony Donovan, Janet Fenton, Sylvia Boyes and Timmon Wallis were acting as a small delegation from the hundreds of people who attended the NAE NUKES Rally at Faslane on Saturday last (22nd September). Visiting the North Gate of the nuclear weapon base they met with the Duty Naval Officer to advise him that the work being carried out there for the UK’s WMD arsenal is unlawful. They also handed him a copy of the TPNW and a copy of Timmon Wallis’ book The Truth about Trident. The Duty Officer promised to hand these items to the base commander, Commodore Donald Doull. They then left signs saying “Prohibited” at both main gates to the base.

Anthony Donovan described the exchange:

“When the police arrived, the activists were told the base was closed today.   They mentioned that there were three people that traveled a long way to speak with Commander of the base Donald Doull.   All four of us wished to share a copy of The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.    The police phoned in, high in doubt.    There was several minutes of waiting for reply.    Although the Commander was away from the base, the Duty Naval Base Officer agreed to come out to meet.   They talked, and listened about the Treaty, and the my documentary and Tim’s book, took copies of all, and thanked them, assuring he would pass them on. “

Under the auspices of the new Treaty similar citizen monitoring inspections have already taken place in other nuclear-armed states and in countries hosting US nuclear weapons.

Janet Fenton said:

Those employed at Faslane on Trident and Trident-related work should be made aware of the Treaty and the impact it is already having worldwide. The Treaty is shifting nukes ever more clearly into the category of pariah weapons, along with chemical weaponry and landmines, on account of their horrendous effects on human life. Staff also need also to realise that Trident’s jacket is now on a really shoogly nail. At the NAE NUKES Rally on Saturday international disarmers from Russia, Israel, the US, Germany, The Netherlands and Japan commended us for our resistance to nuclear weapons and pointed out that we can play a key role in making the UK the first nuclear armed state to comply with the Treaty. That is a challenge to all Scots.”

Timmon Wallis said:

“We don’t have to wait for the UK, the US or the other nuclear armed states to decide it’s time to get rid of these unacceptable weapons. The new treaty gives us a legal framework to get rid of these weapons OURSELVES! We can decide to comply with this treaty as individuals, as organizations, as faith communities, as universities, hospitals, businesses, cities and other political entities. And by doing so, we can begin to dismantle the nuclear war machine piece by piece, as the companies which make and maintain these weapons, and the people who work in these companies, begin to realise that they can no longer do so without moral, legal and financial consequences.”

1The TPNW was adopted by overwhelming vote at the UN on 7th July 2017 and has already achieved 60 state signatures and 15 ratifications and will enter into force when signed and ratified by 50 UN member states. It is seen as a game-changer for global nuclear disarmament and follows the pattern of other significant treaties outlawing particular weaponry, such as chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions, that have given them pariah status.

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