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Excellent and timely BLOG from Don’t bank on The Bomb Scotland

ICAN in the UK Press Release 22nd January 2021

UN Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons becomes international law on 22 Jan 2021.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force today, three years after being negotiated at the UN General Assembly and 90 days after the 50th country joined the Treaty on 24 October 2020.

The TPNW currently has 51 states parties and an overall supporter-base of at least 130 countries – over two thirds of the international community. The Treaty has the support of the United Nations Secretary-General, who sees it as an “important element of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime” as well as the support of global civil society through the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN, 2017 Nobel Prize Winners).

At present the UK Government does not support the Treaty. The UK’s dismissive approach to a Treaty with wide international support will affect the UK’s diplomatic relations as it seeks to build a new reputation under its “Global Britain” mantra.

The Treaty will affect the UK at home too:

Scotland’s First Minister and Government are unambiguously committed to the TPNW, seeking to be in a position to join, and publicly oppose all aspects of the UK’s nuclear weapons policy including the transportation of lethal warheads between Faslane, Coulport, and Berkshire’s bomb factories, Aldermaston and Burghfield.

Major international banks and financial institutions are divesting from nuclear weapons production, informed by ICAN’s “Don’t Bank on the Bomb” campaign.

Cities across Britain, including Manchester, Edinburgh, Oxford, Brighton and Hove, Norwich and Leeds, have signed up to support the Treaty’s implementation. Many more Councils will follow.

Since October, Anglican and Catholic leaders in the UK and a range of Scottish and other UK celebrities have openly endorsed the TPNW and called on the UK government to change its stance.

59% of the UK public think that Britain should sign up to the Treaty, while 77% support a total global nuclear weapons ban, according to new polling by Survation for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

While observing Covid restrictions, British-based ICAN partners are marking this important milestone in many ways, working with MPs, Mayors and local leaders to raise awareness via billboards, banners, and bell ringing (see here for more details).

Nuclear weapons are dangerous security risks, not assets. They are useless for tackling today’s major threats like the COVID-19, climate and ecological emergencies. Whether intentional or accidental, any nuclear weapons use would have catastrophic and global humanitarian consequences. This cannot be confined to a national debate – the UK has a responsibility to listen to the concerns of the global community.

ICAN UK partners have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to urge his government to engage constructively with this Treaty. Until such time that the UK is able to join the Treaty, ICAN UK partners have called on the UK to participate in meetings of states parties as an observer and contribute to discussions including on disarmament verification, environmental remediation and victim assistance.

Noting that nuclear weapons continue to be a major security problem, Dr Rebecca Johnson, author of a forthcoming report on the TPNW’s implications for the UK, said,

“This Treaty is an example of UN multilateralism in action. Britain needs to be at the table, taking the next steps towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons.”

Speaking from UN House Scotland, ICAN Steering Group member, Janet Fenton, said:

“Scotland can contribute to international peace rather than being a launch pad for waging nuclear war. The TPNW shows the will of the sane majority of the world, and will ensure our protection under international law if we can accede to the TPNW.”

Ben Donaldson of United Nations Association – UK said:

“The ground is moving under the UK’s feet. This significant new UN treaty will sit alongside the other major global treaty on nuclear weapons, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and drive forward the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are a global threat. Two thirds of countries want urgent action to reduce this threat. The UK has a legal and moral responsibility to act.”

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Media contact: hello@nuclearban.co.uk or Dr Rebecca Johnson 07733 360955

ICAN UK partners letter to the Prime Minister

Further information on ICAN

Short briefing on how the Treaty will affect the UK

UK press photos

Oft in the Stilly Night

As the Nuclear Ban Treaty enters into force here is Brian Quail’s moving tribute to Scottish peace activists who worked for this prize and who are no longer with us.

Scottish Branch Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Media Release 18 January 2021 :

First Minister Endorses the Scottish Women’s Covenant on the Nuclear Ban Treaty

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has endorsed the Scottish Women’s Covenant1 on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which promotes the TPNW, which enters into force on 22 January 2021, as the first nuclear disarmament treaty to acknowledge that women are disproportionately affected by nuclear weapons and insists that their voices must be heard within disarmament negotiations.

The Covenant, initiated by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom2, is founded on the knowledge that the risks to women’s health and reproductive capacity from ionising radiation are greater than for men, while current power structures mean that women are routinely excluded from nuclear disarmament negotiations.

Nicola Sturgeon said:

I share the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s opposition to nuclear weapons – they are morally, strategically and economically wrong. They are indiscriminate and devastating in their impacts; their use would bring unspeakable humanitarian suffering and widespread environmental damage. The Scottish Government is firmly opposed to the possession, threat and use of nuclear weapons and we are committed to pursuing the safe and the complete withdrawal of all nuclear weapons from Scotland.

While the Scottish Government is unable to become a Party to the Treaty, as First Minister I stronglysupport the principles of the Treaty and the work of the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom. An independent Scotland would be a keen signatory and I hope the day we can do that is not far off.

The Scottish Government has called repeatedly on the UK Government to cancel its plans for the Dreadnought Programme (the Trident Successor Programme) as nuclear weapons do not provide a meaningful deterrent to modern day threats such as terrorist attacks, and there are no realistic short or medium-term threats which justify the possession, the costs or the potential use of Trident and its successor.

Women have always played an important role in the opposition to nuclear weapons, and it is vital that women are included when these issues are discussed internationally. The Scottish Government thanks and congratulates all the states which have ratified the Treaty; we look forward to the Treaty coming in to force and will monitor developments with interest.”

In addition to the First Minister, Scottish WILPF’s Covenant has so far been endorsed by Women for Indy, Scottish CND, UN House Scotland, WILPF UK, Scottish members of Sorptomists International, and others, including a number of Scottish MPs and MSPs . The final list of those endorsing on the 22nd January will published and also sent to:

  • Isha Sesay, UNFPA, as Goodwill Ambassador to help the fight against violence against women and girls, who was appointed on the first of this year’s 16 days campaign; 
  • Setsuko Thurlow, as the atomic survivor and co-recipient of the Nobel Peace prize that was awarded to the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons for its contribution to the treaty.

Lynn Jamieson, WILPF member and Chair of Scottish CND commented:

“The use and threatened use of nuclear weapons is the ultimate obscenity in gender violence.  The UK habit of justifying nuclear weapons is rooted in the historical conflation of leadership with a chauvinistic masculinity that celebrates dominance through strength and force.  Women can take on this mantle, adopt its arrogant entitlement to threaten and fain blindness to the catastrophic global consequences of a nuclear strike. In Scotland, we are grateful for a first minister whose leadership sees through this to a future without nuclear weapons.” 

Ends

Contacts and source

Janet Fenton 07795 594573 janet@wordsandactions.scot

1 The Covenant: Today (6th December 2020) , on International Human Rights Day and following 2020’s 16 Days Campaign to end Violence against women and girls, The Scottish Branch of WILPF initiates Scottish Women’s Covenant to promote the significance of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as the first UN nuclear weapons treaty that recognises the disproportionate impact from nuclear weapons on women and girls, and the special danger that women experience from their manufacture, testing and existence as well as from their testing and use. We urge all Governments to fully commit to joining the TPNW to ensure that women are protected from nuclear weapons use or accident, and to ensuring that women’s voices are head in all negotiations about nuclear weapons policy.

2The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is a non-profit non-governmental organization working “to bring together women of different political views and philosophical and religious backgrounds determined to study and make known the causes of war and work for a permanent peace” and to unite women worldwide who oppose oppression and exploitation. ww.wilpf.org

ICAN in Scotland

Campaigners in Scottish CND, Trident Ploughshares, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, MEDACT, Northern Friends Peace Board, UN House Scotland, Scottish WILPF, Mayors for Peace and Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland working with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Press Release 18th January 2021

Scotland and the World Set to Celebrate as Nuclear Ban Treaty Enters into Force

Strong Support from the Church of Scotland

On Friday, 22nd people all over Scotland will join a global celebration as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) 1becomes international law.

The TPNW prohibits the developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, otherwise acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, transferring, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, assisting other states with these prohibited activities, stationing, deployment or installation of nuclear weapons belonging to other states on a state party’s territory. The nine nuclear weapons states (including the UK) have not signed or ratified the TPNW but nevertheless it will affect their capabilities and, more importantly, as with other inhumane weapon prohibition treaties and conventions, it is already changing the global perception of what is acceptable.

There is a very positive response to the Treaty from civil society in Scotland, with expressions of support and statements from many kenspeckle Scots2, including the Rt Revd Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, who said:

On arriving at university as a 17 year-old, pretty much the first thing I did was join CND. I’ve never been more sure about anything than that the possession of nuclear weapons is morally wrong.

Nearly forty years on, I’m proud to be Moderator of the General Assembly of a Church that has consistently taken the same view. At times, as we seek great changes – dismantling apartheid, tackling global poverty – we can become disheartened and start to think that we’ll never make any difference, that we’re ‘whistling in the wind’. The signing of TPNW into international law is a significant moment in this journey and should be all the encouragement we need to continue the work to eventually see total elimination.”

A special focus on Friday is the call for people to come to their front doors, windows or gates at noon on the day to celebrate with bells, musical instruments, drums or creative percussion and with banners or flags to join in with many churches that will be ringing their bells at the same time.3

Campaigners will also celebrate the progress the Treaty has already made. Backed by 130 states at the UN in December it is gradually acquiring recognition and acceptance as a vital contribution to disarmament. A special feature is the way in which global financial institutions are taking account of the Treaty and dis-investing from nuclear weapon production4. The Treaty’s entry into force will increase the pressure on Scottish financial institutions and public bodies to divest from the nuclear weapons industry, and this will be a focus for campaigners going forward5.

3. Contacts and sources

Janet Fenton 07795 594573

nuclearban.scot

icanw.org

1https://www.icanw.org/the_treaty

2 “Kenspeckle Scots for the TPNW” include:

Aamer Anwar, human rights lawyer, Adam Holmes, Scottish singer and songwriter,

AL Kennedy, writer, Alastair McIntosh,Writer, academic and activist, Alexandra Lort,Theatre & Film Producer, Bruce McGregor, Fiddle player and composer, broadcaster, presenter of Travelling Folk on BBC Scotland, Cameron McNeish,Mountaineer, author and broadcaster, Dave Anderson, actor, Dennis Canavan, former MP and MSP, Douglas Robertson, gig organiser and photographer, Eileen Penman,community singer songwriter, Innes Watson, musician, Jarlath Henderson, musician, Jamie Wardrop, artist, Jerry Loose, poet, Jim Sutherland, film maker and composer for Brave, John Mayer, author, Karine Polwart, Scottish singer, songwriter and writer, Larry Flanagan, General Secretary of the EIS,Lesley Orr, feminist historian and theologian, Lesley Riddoch,broadcaster, journalist, author, Maeve McKinnon, Scottish singer in Gaelic and English, Mike Kirby, Secretary, UNISON Scotland, Pat Kane, musician, journalist, political activist, Penny Stone,songleader, community musician, Rachel Sermanni,singer-songwriter, Robin McAlpine, journalist and Director of Common Weal, Ross Ainslie, musician, Rt Revd Dr Martin Fair, Moderator, Church of Scotland, Sean and Robyn Gray, musicians and Young Trad finalists, Stuart McHardy, historian, Willie Sinclair,folk-singer.

3Full event list: https://www.nuclearban.scot/events-list/

4 A recent example is the Japanese investment giant MUFG which will no longer invest in nuclear weapon production as it now classes them along with “other inhumane weapons”.

5Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland https://nukedivestmentscotland.org/nuclear-weapons-are-illegal/

Scottish CND Press Release: 13th January 2021

Kenspeckle Scots Come Out In Support of the Nuclear Ban Treaty

Kenspeckle Scots for the TPNW are registering to show their enthusiastic welcome for The Treaty of the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons whose entry into force in 8 days time will be celebrated far and widei.

The TPNWii prohibits the developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, otherwise acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, transferring, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, assisting other states with these prohibited activities, stationing, deployment or installation of nuclear weapons belonging to other states on a state party’s territory. While the Treaty does not add any additional obligations on states which are not party to it, its entry into force will have significant impact on the nuclear-armed states.

Among those who have already registered their support are: Larry Flanagan, General Secretary of the EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching union; Mike J Kirby, Secretary, UNISON Scotland; author AL Kennedy; Cameron McNeish, mountaineer, author and broadcaster; Aamer Anwar, human rights lawyer and formerly Rector of Glasgow University; Adam Holmes, Scottish singer and songwriter; Dave Anderson, actor; Bruce McGregor, fiddler and presenter of Travelling Folk on BBC Scotland: Gerry Loose, poet; Jim Sutherland, film composer for Brave ; Karine Polwart, Scottish singer, songwriter and writer; Rachel Sermanni, singer-songwriter; Alastair McIntosh, writer, academic and activist. Leslie Orr, feminist historian, theologian and supporter of the Scottish Women’s Covenant for the TPNW.

AL Kennedy said:

Scotland is fast developing an international reputation for good governance and humane policy making. It is pressingly urgent that we take our commitment to international harmony and human rights to the next level and become signatories to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Rather than a being a dumping ground for nuclear weapons and all their risks at home and promises of violence to the world, Scotland can be a leader.”

i Events already for the 22nd January are being planned with flexibility around

COVID restrictions. Current plans include: photo opportunities at the Scottish Parliament and at the Scotland Office with an advertising trailer publicising the Treaty; projections and large billboard adverts; special murals for the Clutha in Glasgow and the St John’s Church at the west end in Edinburgh are in the pipeline; displays of banners and flags across the country; statements of support from high profile figures in civil, religious and cultural life; new songs and poems written to mark this landmark occasion will be published or streamed; Indylive and other broadcasters will be presenting radio interviews and livestreaming actions, and academic institutions will be hosting webinars on or around the date. A special feature to allow mass participation while large gatherings are not possible is the call for people to come to their front doors, windows or gates at noon on the day to celebrate with bells, musical instruments, drums or creative percussion and with banners or flags to join in with many churches that will be ringing their bells at the same time. Events already for the 22nd January are being planned with flexibility around

COVID restrictions. Current plans include: photo opportunities at the Scottish Parliament and at the Scotland Office with an advertising trailer publicising the Treaty; projections and large billboard adverts; special murals for the Clutha in Glasgow and the St John’s Church at the west end in Edinburgh are in the pipeline; displays of banners and flags across the country; statements of support from high profile figures in civil, religious and cultural life; new songs and poems written to mark this landmark occasion will be published or streamed; Indylive and other broadcasters will be presenting radio interviews and livestreaming actions, and academic institutions will be hosting webinars on or around the date. A special feature to allow mass participation while large gatherings are not possible is the call for people to come to their front doors, windows or gates at noon on the day to celebrate with bells, musical instruments, drums or creative percussion and with banners or flags to join in with many churches that will be ringing their bells at the same time.

iihttps://www.icanw.org/the_treaty

Graphics and Images for Free and Open Use are HERE

Media Briefing: 4th January 2021

ICAN in Scotland

Campaigners in Scottish CND, Trident Ploughshares, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, MEDACT, Northern Friends Peace Board, UN House Scotland, Scottish WILPF, Mayors for Peace and Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland working with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Scottish Response to Entry into Force of Nuclear Ban Treaty on January 22nd

1. On 22nd January the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons1 (TPNW, aka “The Nuclear Ban Treaty”) will enter into force as international law. There will be celebrations of the event worldwide and in Scotland these will be many and varied, and will highlight the very special relevance2 of the Treaty for Scotland.

2. Events already for the 22nd January are being planned with flexibility around

COVID restrictions. Current plans include: photo opportunities at the Scottish Parliament and at the Scotland Office with an advertising trailer publicising the Treaty; projections and large billboard adverts; special murals for the Clutha in Glasgow and the St John’s Church at the west end in Edinburgh are in the pipeline; displays of banners and flags across the country; statements of support from high profile figures in civil, religious and cultural life; new songs and poems written to mark this landmark occasion will be published or streamed; Indylive and other broadcasters will be presenting radio interviews and livestreaming actions, and academic institutions will be hosting webinars on or around the date. A special feature to allow mass participation while large gatherings are not possible is the call for people to come to their front doors, windows or gates at noon on the day to celebrate with bells, musical instruments, drums or creative percussion and with banners or flags to join in with many churches that will be ringing their bells at the same time.Events already for the 22nd January are being planned with flexibility around

COVID restrictions. Current plans include: photo opportunities at the Scottish Parliament and at the Scotland Office with an advertising trailer publicising the Treaty; projections and large billboard adverts; special murals for the Clutha in Glasgow and the St John’s Church at the west end in Edinburgh are in the pipeline; displays of banners and flags across the country; statements of support from high profile figures in civil, religious and cultural life; new songs and poems written to mark this landmark occasion will be published or streamed; Indylive and other broadcasters will be presenting radio interviews and livestreaming actions, and academic institutions will be hosting webinars on or around the date. A special feature to allow mass participation while large gatherings are not possible is the call for people to come to their front doors, windows or gates at noon on the day to celebrate with bells, musical instruments, drums or creative percussion and with banners or flags to join in with many churches that will be ringing their bells at the same time.

1 The TPNW prohibits the developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, otherwise acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, transferring, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, assisting other states with these prohibited activities, stationing, deployment or installation of nuclear weapons belonging to other states on a state party’s territory. The nine nuclear weapons states (including the UK) have not signed or ratified the TPNW but nevertheless it will affect their capabilities and, more importantly, as with other inhumane weapon prohibition treaties and conventions, it is already changing the global perception of what is acceptable. This norm shift is significant in a world in which even authoritarian states guard their global reputations as they attempt to expand or protect their spheres of influence.

2 The Treaty’s Entry into Force will provide a strong boost to Scottish public, parliamentarian and government opposition to the UK’s nuclear weapons. It will also be a key factor should Scotland achieve independence, persist with that opposition, and ratify the TPNW. If Scotland signs the Treaty, this situation would be outlawed by the UN. The Treaty specifically forbids a signed-up state to allow any stationing of nuclear weapons on its territory or under its jurisdiction and also insists that states in the Treaty will ensure the prompt removal of any nuclear weapons belonging to another state, with a clear timeline for this action. Scotland would then have the specific and unqualified backing of international law, (as well as huge international support) to have the weapons removed and to resist any pressure to give the UK a long lease of the Clyde nuclear weapon bases. Without a feasible UK re-location option the remnant Westminster government would be faced with no credible alternative to disarmament. Aside from independence, the Scottish government already has devolved competence to support the TPNW. Responsibility for civil society’s basic safety includes risk assessment of the nuclear warhead carriers on Scottish roads, and radiation leaks in the Gare Loch. The government can educate citizens about the UN processes and health workers about radiation effects. The distinct Scottish legal system and police force can consider Scotland’s responsibilities.

Recent Scottish media coverage around the TPNW in October 2020

19th October, 2020

Prep piece by David Mackenzie in Source News

21st October, 2020

Prep piece by David Mackenzie in the Scottish Review

22nd October, 2020

Prep Piece by Janet Fenton in the National

25th October, 2020

Blog by Dr Craig Dalziel (Lead researcher for Commonwealth and Commentator on Constitutional and Economic affairs)

Mike Small of Bella Caledonia -Pariah Weapons – Hope in the Darkness for a Nuclear-free World (incorporating SCND Press release)

Trident Ploughshares Celebration at Faslane in the National

27th October, 2020

Lesley Morrison of Medact in The Herald

Greens to push for independent Scotland to back nuclear ban

Marian Pallister in Source News

28th October, 2020

Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh in the National – the TPNW and removing UK weapons from Scotland