DELIGHT AS NOBEL PEACE PRIZE GOES TO ICAN

Scottish Scrap Trident Coalition
Press Release: 6th October 2017
 
DELIGHT AS NOBEL PEACE PRIZE GOES TO ICAN
Campaigners against nuclear weapons are delighted by the news that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the advocacy group that has worked for the new UN Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), is the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Peace.

Trident Ploughshares’ David Mackenzie said:

It is wonderful that ICAN now has global recognition of the work it has done in supporting and resourcing all those who have worked for the TPNW, such as the international network of anti-nuclear campaigners, the far-sighted diplomats, but above all the the Hibakusha, whose first-hand testimony to the the horrifying consequences of these weapons has been a critical element in the establishing the Treaty.

This Award also means that it will now be impossible to ignore the TPNW and the challenge it poses to the nuclear-armed states, including the UK. It is hugely encouraging to us in Scotland, given the popular, parliamentary and govermental rejection of weapons of mass destruction. More than ever we have to see ourselves as part of that normal and majority world that wants nukes eliminated.”

Brian Larkin, of the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, said:

“The award of the Peace Prize will massively boost awareness of the Campaign to Abolish Nucelar Weapons. With the crisis in North Korea, and, the uncertainty of Donald Trump – who has repeatedly threatened the use of nuclear weapons – in the White House, the risk of nuclear war is greater than at any time since the Cold War. It is vital that people everywhere understand the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapon and that the only way to prevent any future their use is to ban them.

But the countries that possess nuclear weapons, and those that want them, will not relinquish them without a fight. The UK should take note, and shift from opposing this treaty and sign it now.”

Arthur West, Chair of Scottish CND, said:

This is a well deserved award to a campaign which does outstanding work in the struggle to rid our world of the evil of nuclear weapons and played a major role in achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted this year with the support of 122 countries. Scottish CND are proud to be a partner of this international campaign and will continue working with them to achieve a nuclear free world.”

Contact: David Mackenzie 07876593016 Arthur West 07826 127759

Notes:

  1. From the Prize Committee’s release:

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”

  2. The ICAN website (icanw.org) is currently difficult to access due to understandable additional pressure. Basic information about the TPNW can be found at nuclearban.scot. And also athttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Campaign_to_Abolish_Nuclear_Weapons

  3. There are currently four ICAN partner organisations in Scotland: Scottish CND, UN House, Medact and the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre.

  4. Scotland’s First Minister supports the TPNW. From the Parliamentary Business of 28th September:

    Bill Kidd (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP):

    What engagement does the Scottish Government undertake with the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament? What position does it hold on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was recently successfully passed at the United Nations?

    The First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon):

    I support that treaty. I want to see a world free of nuclear weapons and I think that countries such as the United Kingdom should lead by example. Instead of spending tens of billions of pounds on a new generation of Trident nuclear missiles, we should get rid of Trident nuclear missiles from the Clyde. We will continue to support action for unilateral nuclear disarmament because, if countries lead by example, the world will be a safer place in the long term as a result. We will support action on that internationally from the UN and elsewhere, because it is the right thing to do morally, financially and for practical reasons.

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53 States sign TPNW in the first week!

At last, only two months after its adoption by the UN General Assembly on 7th July 2017, the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at the United Nations in New York. During the opening ceremony on 20th September, it was a rush to ensure that the first 42 states all signed the Treaty; since then, the number of states that have since signed continues to grow and the magical number of fifty was reached on the second day. On the opening day, 20 September, three states had also ratified the Treaty: Guayana, Holy See, and Thailand. A total of 50 ratifications are necessary for the Treaty’s entry into force, and while this will take a little longer, it is now clearly on its way. The current state of signatories and ratifications is fast moving and readers can check updates on the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

“This treaty is an incredible new piece of international law, achieved despite the opposition of the most militarised and powerful countries in the world,” said Ray Acheson, director of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s (WILPF) disarmament programme, Reaching Critical Will.

“It marks a turning point in the struggle against these genocidal weapons, in which the vast majority of governments and civil society have united to create law that can change policies and practices of nuclear deterrence and help facilitate nuclear disarmament.”

The nuclear-armed states have not participated in the negotiations and do not currently support the treaty. That includes, of course, the UK.

It is essential that our Scottish elected representatives do all they can to speak out publicly in support of the treaty. Many Scottish Parliamentarians have already signed the international Parliamentarians pledge on the ICAN website, and those that have not yet done so must be encouraged to do so by people in their constituencies. The Pledge allows our Scottish elected representatives to be seen as part of the growing global support for the TPNW and puts more pressure on the UK and its Trident modernisation programme.

The UK mainstream media are not reporting the TPNW so we need to get informed and share what we learn. There are public meetings and presentations are being arranged around the country to inform people – details here.

ICAN partner UN House in Edinburgh is setting up another open working group for ICAN Partner organisations and anyone with an interest in the TPNW. It is timed to suit campaigners in or near Edinburgh, but all and any are welcome. Its first meeting will be at 5.30pm on the 18th October, UN House at 4 Hunter Square Edinburgh, EH1 1QW. The session will be facilitated by UN House interns who were part of the July delegation in New York. All welcome.

The threat of nuclear war is these days very real, making ever more credible and essential the core of this Treaty – to prohibit these weapons and eliminate them.

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Important information from Medact about Global Ban Treaty

Medact is an organisation of medical professionals who work to rid our world of nuclear weapons and also on issues related to climate change and economic justice .
Medact are a major partner with Scottish CND and other organisations in the campaign to raise awareness about the global ban on nuclear weapons treaty recently supported by 122 countries at the United Nations .
Medact have very kindly supplied the following link which gives important information about what countries require to do in relation to ratification of this ground breaking and important treaty. Read more here.
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Scottish Signing Ceremony

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature on 20 September 2017, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This was a historic moment, when heads of states and foreign ministers gathered in New York to officially sign this groundbreaking treaty. More than 50 countries signed in the first 8 hours.

As the UK is against this international initiative, Scotland wanted to show solidarity and support for the ban treaty and organised its own Citizens Signing Ceremony in front of the Scottish Parliament. Many MSPs have signed the treaty along with campaigners, tourists from all parts of the word or local people passing by the parliament.

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More than 50 countries signed the treaty already

The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature yesterday morning! And less than 8 hours later, 50 states have signed. What an excellent result.

Here are the first 50 signatories to the ban treaty, but many more are expected to sign in the next few days.

 

Algeria
Austria
Bangladesh
Brazil
Burundi
Cabo Verde
Central African Republic
Chile
Comoros
Congo (DR)
Congo (Republic of)
Costa Rica
Côte d’Ivoire
Cuba
Ecuador
El Salvador
Fiji
Gambia
Ghana
Guatemala
Guyana (+ ratification)
Holy See (+ ratification)
Honduras
Indonesia
Ireland
Kiribati
Laos
Libya
Liechtenstein
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Mexico
Nepal
New Zealand
Nigeria
Palau
Palestine
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Samoa
San Marino
São Tomé & Principe
South Africa
Thailand (+ ratification)
Togo
Tuvalu
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Venezuela
For live updates and more info visit ICAN website.
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As September 20th Sign-up Day Approaches . . .

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will soon be open for signing by the world’s nations. We are very hopeful that there will be many signings on the day itself and soon after. News of the signings as they come in will be on this website, and via social media outlets – Scottish CND, Scrap Trident Coalition and ICAN UK so you can share widely.

To help us prepare, the founding chair of ICAN, world renowned authority on the impact of nuclear weapons, Professor Tilman Ruff, was on a rare visit to the UK from Australia. As the US and North Korea exchanged threats, Tilman was in Edinburgh describing the catastrophic effects on the world’s climate of even a regional nuclear war. Speaking about the TPNW he told his audience that amongst the international disarmament community the UK was considered to be the nuclear-armed states that is most likely to change its status and sign the Treaty. He even went so far as to say that “ the role of Scotland is of huge global significance”.

Responding to our global role Scotland now has four ICAN partner organisations: Scottish CND, UN House; Medact; Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre. Plans are being made to spread the word and play our parts together.

Here’s some things you can do immediately:

1. Write and tell the UK Prime Minister to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

2. Send ICAN’S parliamentary pledge for the TPNW to your own MP and to your constituency MSP and all your 7 list MSPs. Highlight Scotland’s position in your letters or emails http://www.icanw.org/projects/pledge/

3. Read the Treaty Text. Scottish ICAN Partners will have hard copies to pick up soon, along with a new campaigners’ leaflet which will be distributed to any interested groups.

4. Use the TPNW to re-frame your discussions about nuclear disarmament.

5. Help us stop the #NukesofHazard convoys from taking Trident warheads on public roads. See www.nukesofhazard.co.uk for more information and see nukewatch.org.uk for the new report “Unready Scotland”.

6.Check out TPNW opportunities in Scotland through partner organisations, Scottish CND, UN House, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre and Medact .

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Letter in the Guardian from Medact

The below letter was published in the Guardian on 31st of Aug. See the article here.

Fourteen medical doctors and scientists call on the British government to join the international treaty demanding the ban of nuclear weapons

As medical doctors and scientists, we write concerning the escalating crisis between North Korea and the US (World running out of diplomatic levers, 30 August). The power to kill millions is in the hands of unstable countries and unpredictable people. Tensions between these two nuclear powers clearly illustrate the dangers of nuclear weapons, which make the world less stable.

Evidence is indisputable that any use of such weapons would have a devastating health impact on populations. Robust scientific studies show that even a limited exchange of nuclear weapons would lead to major crop failures around the world. Such a “nuclear famine” scenario would result in mass starvation, potentially affecting as many as 2 billion people.

On 20 September, countries commence signing the comprehensive treaty banning nuclear weapons adopted on 7 July 2017 at the UN. The treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons agreed by 122 nations finally gives these weapons of mass destruction a similar legal status to biological and chemical weapons. The treaty prohibits signatories from: preparation of nuclear weapons, actual use, and assisting other states or non-state groups in such actions. The UK, alongside other nuclear-armed states, boycotted the negotiations, despite government claims to support multilateral disarmament and despite polling indicating that 75% of the UK population supported UK government participation.

It is not too late for the position of the British government to change. Possession of nuclear weapons undermines a potential leadership role for the UK to enhance security and stability in the world. We call upon the British government to immediately begin the process of joining the treaty. As a first step, it could reduce its threatening nuclear posture, specifically by abandoning its “first-use policy” and ending continuous nuclear-armed patrols – both of which increase the risk of nuclear war.

Dr Michael Orgel Medact Scotland

Dr Stuart Parkinson Executive director, Scientists for Global Responsibility

Dr Philip Webber Chair, Scientists for Global Responsibility

Dr Ira Helfand Co-president, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and recipient of the 1985 Nobel peace prize

Professor Peter Ware Higgs Nobel laureate physics

Professor David McCoy Director, Medact UK

Professor Alan Robock Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Professor John CM Gillies

Dr Judith McDonald Medact Scotland

Dr Lesley Morrison Medact Scotland

Professor David Webb

Professor Malcolm Povey University of Leeds

Dr Margaret McCartney GP, Glasgow

Dr Guy Johnson Medact Scotland

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What do the papers say?

In the month since the agreement on the Nuclear Ban treaty in New York coverage of this momentous event has been a little thin in the Scottish main stream media, but more thorough in the social media. You can read the full summary  here so you can see if you missed any.

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Public Meeting: All you need to know about the ban.

The Scottish CND Global Ban Treaty Working Group are organising a public meeting on on Wed,  23rd of Aug at 7 pm in the Rainbow Room of the Quaker Meeting House (38 Elmbank Crescent Glasgow G2 4PS).

The United Nations Treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons was adopted in July in New York. A Scottish Civil Society Team, including Scottish CND, and other Scottish partners in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons attended and participated.

This will be a participative meeting, so following a report back from those involved, there will be an opportunity to ask questions and raise issues.

Getting to Glasgow is not an option for all of us. However, we will try our best to stream this event online either via independencelive.net or our Facebook page. In addition, similar events will be organised in other areas.

Anyone who is interested is very welcome to attend this meeting.
Please pass the word round.

On the 20th of September, the treaty opens for signatures and becomes law when 50 UN Member States have signed.  We still have lots to do so please keep checking our website regularly.

Download the leaflet for this meeting Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Meeting leaflet.

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Message to US, Democratic Republic of Korea and all nuclear armed states

The already dangerous crisis in Korea has escalated further with the reckless rhetoric emanating from both the United States and the Democratic Republic of Korea. The wild threats issued by both sides only inflame an already explosive situation. If acted on they could lead directly to the death of tens of millions of people in both countries and beyond their borders. They must stop.

At a time of similar confrontation in 1994 the United States and the DPRK chose to enter into negotiations and they were able to work out an arrangement that met both nations’ security needs until the United States suspended the talks in 2002. There is an urgent need to resume direct negotiations without preconditions to defuse this dangerous crisis.

At the United Nations last month 122 nations pointed out the path forward by voting to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Treaty recognized the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that will result from nuclear war and prohibited the possession of these weapons. The United States, the Democratic Republic of Korea, and all of the nuclear-armed states need to acknowledge the unacceptable danger posed by these weapons, and clearly illustrated by the current crisis. They need to understand that nuclear weapons do not enhance their security, but pose the greatest risk to their own security and the security of all peoples. And they need to negotiate the time bound, verifiable, and enforceable elimination of their arsenals.

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