Ronnie Cowan believes we must abolish nuclear weapons and the UK government should be leading that from the front – he knows better than most, he is MP for Inverclyde.
Today we had some time off from the UN negotiations, but not from our nuclear disarmament actions. It was the day of the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb.
We decided to walk on Broklyn Bridge and we used every opportunity to show off our banner.
We met the rest of our team in Bryant Park. Not shortly after, it started to rain. The weather forecast seemed not to mention the rain and most of us were unprepared.
It rained torrentially and we were soaked in seconds. Conspiracy theories were suggesting that this was the doing of the nuclear weapons states. The weather did not stop people joining the march and walking more than an hour.
We listened to speeches and music, we chanted anti nuclear messages, sang all sorts of Scottish songs, posed for photographs and made a great impression on the rainy streets of New York city. If you want to see a very fast version of the march please check this 19 second video.
The march was very diverse, with representatives from all over the world and had lots of young campaigners. Scotland made a great impression and we are very proud to have taken part in this event. Unfortunately, some of our waterproof bags were not so waterproof and we’re now trying to rescue wet phones and passports.
We would also want to thank everybody who attended and organised the solidarity events in Scotland. It was very encouraging and it contributed to the overall success of the event. Luckily, you had better weather than us.
Flavia Tudoreanu & the rest of our Scottish Delegation
Dr Philippa Whitford MP points out that Trident doesn’t protect us from the real threats: cyber attack, terrorism and climate change.
The second day of negotiations has begun, and the Scottish delegation has been busy both in and out of the conference room.
The day started with our daily ICAN meeting, which noted that attendees were generally pleased with the discussions of the previous day, and also mentioned the positive discussions that were had between delegates, wishing to strengthen the treaty where possible. 103 states participated in the negotiations which is an improvement on the number at the beginning of the previous discussions, and it is expected that others could join or participate in due course. Despite remarking positively on the negotiations, it was still agreed that there could be a greater emphasis on Human Rights law as well as Environmental Law with the draft treaty moving forward.
Not long into the morning session, where delegates continued their discussions on the Preamble, our colleagues at the World Council of Churches received confirmation of a meeting from the UK Mission office across from the United Nations. Keen to discuss the UK’s position on the ban treaty as well as the UK’s notable absence at the negotiations, Dagmar, Flavia, Janet and I joined, along with Dave from UK CND and Tim, from Quakers UK, while Andy remained in the negotiations room to take attendance of participating countries and to take notes on the continued proceedings.
While Chatham House Rule applies for the discussions had and we were aware there would be little room for manoeuvre, the group were able to discuss their differing views on the relationship between the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty to the Nuclear Ban Treaty, as well as the perceived security that nuclear weapons hold.
Journeying back to the United Nations in time for lunch, we attended the Side Event by Pugwash Conferences, where a panel discussed the challenges of being a host state to other nuclear weapon states. This was a particularly pertinent and interesting discussion for our Scottish team, because whilst Scotland’s position of hosting nuclear weapons for the UK is quite unique, it holds some resemblance to that of host states who hold these weapons for nuclear states, but have little control. Whilst there was discussion on all of the host states in this situation, there was a greater discussion on the Netherlands position, as they are the only host state attending these negotiations. It was noted that whilst they made strong opening remarks yesterday about their allegiance and priorities to NATO as a pre-requisite of signing a treaty, their attendance here should still be commended, which shows an honesty and willingness on their part, to make progress.
Moving to the afternoon negotiations shortly after, the floor was opened to a variety of civil society representatives who gave their thoughts on the preamble. They highlighted a variety of issues, including the obligation to assist victims of nuclear weapons, the need for recognition of the disproportionate effects on indigenous people and the reminder of the long-lasting humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.
The official book launch of ‘Disarming the Nuclear Argument: the truth about nuclear weapons’, written by Tim Wallis was the next item on the agenda for the Scottish team. Janet, along with Dave Webb, Chair of UK CND, and Dr Rebecca Johnson, of the Acronym Institute, joined Tim in an open discussion session where they spoke about the arguments and importantly the rebuttals that can come from discussions with opponents to the ban treaty. A free copy of this book will be offered to all 130 delegates at the negotiations where it is hoped that this will give delegates greater information and answers to the common questions and queries surrounding disarmament. In attendance and contributing to the discussion were nuns Sister Ardath Platte and Sister Carol Gilbert, who have both served prison sentences for poring their own blood on a nuclear warhead.
Our Scottish team split up for the last part of our day, as Flavia, Dagmar and I attended the ‘Student and Young People’ Sign Making event for the march tomorrow, whilst Andy and Janet took part in the Sign Making event for the ‘slightly older’ generation. Momentum is certainly building for the march tomorrow, with it being widely discussed by many and we are hoping this is the case for the partner marches that will be going on throughout the world also. We hope that there will be a great turnout for the events worldwide, and that we are able to spread the word- ‘Ban the Bomb’!
Amy Christison & the rest of the Scottish Team
Scottish parliamentarian, Ruth Maguire, thanks Scottish civil society for representing Scotland at the UN negotiations in New York.
The concluding session of the United Nations conference to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons has started today.
Here is the daily report from our Scottish Delegation
Queuing to get our badges proved to be a much more interesting experience than expected. We got to reunite with fellow international campaigners and met new ones. We were all excited to be brought together by such a special occasion.
The day continued with a short ICAN briefing followed by the conference.
Countries and civil society had the floor and expressed their support for the nuclear weapons draft treaty. It was highlighted that the draft is intended as a starting point for negotiations, further comments and other technical changes.
The following discussions focused on the preamble which outlines the concern over the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and the importance of humanitarian law. Amendments to strengthen these arguments were suggested by various countries. There was an appetite from many states to ensure that the gender aspects of disarmament were clearly addressed in the treaty. Another popular topic was adding to the treaty the threat of use. We were reminded that the very first UN resolution was to get rid of nuclear weapons.
Between ourselves we have taken notes, monitored statements, counted participants and used social media to raise awareness of the talks. We have also publicised the side event “Disarming the nuclear argument – Book Launch by Tim Wallis” where Janet Fenton, Vice Chair of Scottish CND, will be speaking.
Andy has attended the side event “Verification of the Ban Treaty: Articles 3, 4 and 5 and Beyond” organised by the Program on Science and Global Security and Princeton University. This meeting explored the choice between a very simple treaty that might leave gaps versus a more detailed approach which would be more difficult to negotiate.
We have also visited the WILPF office to collect our banner for the coming Women’s March and Rally to Ban The Bomb.
Throughout the process, we have kept contact with our Scottish based campaigners and the Scottish CND office and we were very pleased to see supporting video messages coming from our elected representatives.
If you want a more technical report on today’s discussions please visit the Nuclear Ban Daily by Reaching Critical Will.
Flavia Tudoreanu & the Scottish Delegation
Today, the 15th of June 2017 the final round of United Nations-mandated negotiations on a treaty prohibiting the development, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons, began. It is not a surprise that the British government has refused to participate at the discussions and we have, yet again, a disappointing empty seat.
Read their full briefing here.
Meanwhile, hundreds of countries are living up to their values and have gathered at the UN in New York to negotiate the treaty. Scottish MPs and MSPs are sending us video statements to show their support for a global ban on nuclear weapons.
While some of the official chairs are empty, the civil society section does not seem to have enough seats to accommodate us all.
For more updates and info please check this website and our social media posts.
On the Eve of the resumption of Negotiations for the Global Ban Treaty on Nuclear Weapons Tommy Sheppard MP sends a message of support to those trying to achieve a multilateral ban on nuclear weapons.
In less than a week’s time we’re marching together across the planet to support the Global Ban treaty on Nuclear weapons!
At the same time as the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb in New York there will be solidarity events all over the world, including several in Scotland.
Events planned so far for Saturday 17th June are listed below. If there is not one in your area don’t be shy – go ahead and organise your own.
- LIVESTREAM: Women’s March to Ban the Bomb! 5-7pm, at the Serenity Cafe, 8 Jackson’s Entry, The Tun, 111 Holyrood Rd, Edinburgh, EH8 8PJ
- Brodick, Isle of Arran. Gathering opposite the Douglas 4.45-5.15pm
- Edinburgh, Demo with singing at 4 pm-6 pm, on the Mound.
- Glasgow Gathering at Donald Dewar Statue 12.00 noon (Timing intended to allow people to attend at both Glasgow and another site if they wish)
- Kilmarnock rally at 5 pm, at the Burns Statue
You can publicise any event you are organising by posting on solidarity event online map and sending information to Scottish CND for our website and to make a Facebook Event. In any case – please call the local press and take pictures to send to them and to us.
Over in New York the Scottish delegation will be going to the march with a Scottish Banner.
Whatever you decide to do this Saturday all eyes will be on the second round of negotiations for the nuclear weapon ban treaty, taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City from 15 June–7 July 2017. You can stay updated by subscribing for the Nuclear Ban Daily or follow the action live on Twitter through @RCW
Scottish Civic Society will be well represented at the UN discussions for a global ban on nuclear weapons. This will take place in New York, between 15 June – 7 July 2017.
- Vice Chair of Scotttish CND
- Scottish Parliamentary Liaison – Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom
- Member of Trident Ploughshares
“As a committed internationalist, I have been an enthusiastic campaigner with ICAN since its inception in 2007 and was one of the organisers of a launch in the Scottish Parliament in 2009.
The idea of a ban treaty seemed a long way off, and it is wonderful to me that over the last year the UN set up a working group and has already published the first draft. I have participated in the process and felt happy to represent Scotland’s desire to be rid of these horrific instruments of death, and to help to rid the world of them. Having participated in these meetings I am very happy to be going to New York with a great team of campaigners and to know that we can be effective in ensuring a strong treaty and coming home to make sure that Scotland knows about it and that the pressure on the UK Government to disarm becomes irresistible.”
- Scottish CND member of staff since 2012
“Scottish CND is one of the largest and most active partners of ICAN in Scotland and along with all my colleagues, we have played a vital role in contributing to its success on a national level. I have taken part in various conferences organised by ICAN, but the most important one was the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons which clarified the urgent need to prohibit these weapons under international law.
I look forward to attending the UN nuclear ban negotiations and working with our Scottish based campaigners, who will not be attending the discussion, but will play a crucial role in spreading the message and raising awareness of the talks.”
She graduated from the University of St Andrews in June 2016 with a degree in Management, and has since been interning at the United Nations House Scotland. In December 2016, Amy was assigned as a rapporteur at the Scottish Parliament Conference: ‘Humanitarian and Environmental Costs and Responsibilities of Nuclear Weapons’, and was given the opportunity to report on the work and thoughts of Beatrice Fihn, Head of ICAN. Having long had an interest in the topic of Nuclear Disarmament, and becoming even more knowledgeable on the topic in recent months, Amy is delighted to be invited to the Conference in New York where she hopes to work with the rest of the team in ensuring a strong and robust treaty is negotiated.
“I am excited and very privileged to have been asked to go. I have never been to such an event before and it is quite a responsibility to represent the area.”
Member of Scottish CND and Aberdeen & District CND. Strong campaigner outside the Central Belt of Scotland.
Dagmar Topf Aguiar de Medeiros
She is a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh, studying international climate change law from the perspective of international constitutionalism and human rights. Dagmar has been an intern at the United Nations House Scotland and participated in the Scottish Parliament Conference: ‘Humanitarian and Environmental Costs and Responsibilities of Nuclear Weapons’ as a rapporteur on the breakout workshop entitled ‘Responsibilities and Roles of Host Countries in Preventing Nuclear Dangers and Complying with National and International Law. Dagmar’s background in international law as well as her interest in human rights and the environment prompted her engagement in the nuclear disarmament movement and she is looking forward to contributing to the campaign and participating in the team heading to the Conference in New York.
Isabelle Smith (Scottish team member in New York)
Born in 1931 in Beith ,Ayrshire and educated in Scotland ,I became a teacher.
A career change by my husband Jack, took us to to Connecticut, USA ,where our 3 children were born. I started businesses promoting Scotland. We were always politically active and after the negotiations which led to the installation of the Polaris in Scottish waters at Faslane, we found support in the Scottish National Party regarding their removal .However as the yearswent by ,we watched with increasing alarm, the escalation of the number of more and more powerful weapons of mass destruction.
After my husband’s death in 1994 I returned to my beloved Scotland, getting involved in the changing patterns of Scottish society, keeping not only independence but ” Scrapping Trident ” also to the fore. In 2016 I returned to the States though returning regularly to ,what I consider home. This I intend to continue to do.
It will be my privilege to be a voice for Scotland in ICAN at the Nuclear Ban Treaty Negotiations. It will somewhat alleviate the images that have haunted me since 1945 when as a fourteen year old I saw pictures of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The week before I had viewed the horrors on film of Belsen concentration camp .Have never quite recovered !
Now 72 years later perhaps a little hope .