Janet Fenton’s Update on 3rd July

The end of the week our activities were focused on continuing to lobby diplomats to strengthen key points and prohibitions, and do what we can to get the message to our home countries through conventional and social media , articulating the process and stressing the significance of what is happening here.

In addition to our update on the actual negotiations given elsewhere, I’d like to tell you a little about the experiences we are having.

There have been numerous interesting and informative side events, and whether on the panel – I took part in the one refuting the traditional arguments, along with Alice Slater, Rob Green, and others – or listening and learning from Scientists for Global responsibility as they paint the terrifying true picture of the impact on the climate of any use of nuclear weapons, civil society and diplomats are experiencing intense and robust lessons in the urgent need for the Treaty and the rich variety of skills and knowledge that are brought to that task. We watched a new film, The Nuns the Priests and the Bombs that not only told the story of faith based direct action, but explained a lot about the US legal system and how it continues to uphold the status quo.

One thing that has been a strange experience is that during these last few days, while the diplomats are consulting in small groups behind closed doors, in the room that had been allocated to civil society, they have swapped rooms with us so we are in the big room, Conference Room One, for side events and to meet and talk. It’s a bit weird and we are somewhat discombobulated in the big room with all the mics and the comfy chairs. We decided on a photocall, and as we stood, (panoramic shot taking ages) someone started to sing, Peace Salaam Shalom, and gradually everyone joined in – in Conference Room 1 at the UN, who’d have thought it!

My quote of the week from a side event is “Building the capacity for violence will never meet the world’s deep longing for peace. “

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