On Sunday, our delegation split to attend two meeting. Flavia attended the ICAN campaigners meeting and the rest of the team went to “One struggle, many fronts: No nukes, no walls, no warming” side event.
Reports of those are given below
The No Wars No Walls and No Warming Event by American Friends Service Committee was held at the Brooklyn Friends Meeting House.
Three panel discussions explored links between the themes.
Survivors of Hiroshima, nuclear testing and from the Marshallese Educational Initiative told their stories. Common themes were being told nothing (before or after) and the lack of support in their suffering caused by nuclear fallout. It is important to collect the oral histories and to tell their stories.
Israeli disarmament activist, Sharon Dolev, spoke of the proposed draft treaty for a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destuction Free Zone and the hope to progress this at a closed-door round table meeting in Scotland at the end of this year! Other speakers explained the connections between possession of Nuclear Weapons and racism & colonialism.
Four wonderful young speakers described a range of organisations for mobilising youth activists (Peace Action, Abolition 2000, Hiroshima Democratic Youth League, Amplify). The importance of mentoring, oldies listening to the young and peer-to-peer meetings were described.
On post treaty actions, various pathways were suggested. Pressure on Governments by residents of nuclear armed states. Using the law. Marshall Islands took all nuclear states to the International Court of Justice and the Israeli Prime Minister is being taken to court. Alyn Ware , co-ordinator of Parliamentarians for Nonproliferation and Nuclear Disarmament, gave us a very uplifting story of the change in New Zealand from a very warlike, pro-nuclear weapon state to being a nuclear weapon free zone.He considered that even more important than the humanitarian aspects were security arguments and reversing the standard argument to show that possessing nuclear weapons makes you a target. The main threads are (1) Politics, work on decisions makers, even conservatives / republicans; (2) Process e.g UN High Level conference on disarmament due in 2018; (3) Money. the US imposed an economic boycott on NZ. This was countered with a ‘girlcott’ selling to the US (e.g Nuke free butter) which actually increased trade.
Arielle Dennis of ICAN and the International Peace Bureau stressed the importance of the progress that had been made through the actions of the nuclear weapons free states and the testimony of the Hibakusha and the involvement of civil society. John Burroughs Read Tim Wallis’s book “Disarming the Nuclear Argument” for more ideas.
Cheers, Andy Hinton
Sunday’s campaigners meeting summarised where we are and what’s next. It was highlighted that overall countries had multiple positive statements which suggests there’s willingness to produce a strong treaty. On Thursday we had 103 states participating and more states are expected to join in the coming week.
It was emphasised that this is not a protest treaty. It’s a treaty against the weapons themselves not against the countries that have them.
In terms of priorities in the general obligations, ICAN campaigners would really want to see references to military preparations, planning and financing. It was noted that various countries have already submitted statements suggesting the inclusion of planning in the prohibitions.
We also had the pleasure to welcome Caroline Lucas MP. She will meet a representative of the UK mission at UN as well and I had an interesting chat about how our meeting went and the main points made at it. I talked about our campaign in Scotland and the supporting videos from our MPs and MSPs. She graciously agreed to make a video for us, which I will film tomorrow.
It is expected that a new draft will be released some time next week and this will be the basis of new discussions.