Day 4 of the nuclear ban treaty discussions

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.

Yours,

Flavia Tudoreanu

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Solidarity events in Scotland to support Women’s march in New York

Saturday was  extremely busy in Scotland as Solidarity Gatherings took place on Arran; and in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Kilmarnock to support the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb in New York.

There was singing, speeches, poetry and reading from the messages sent by the Scottish delegation so far. We also leafleted the public and spoke to many people who had been previously unaware of  the negotiations and were overwhelmingly in favour of a Global Nuclear Weapons Ban.

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Video: Ronnie Cowan: We must abolish Nuclear Weapons

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.

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Day 3 of the nuclear ban treaty discussions

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.

Yours,

Flavia Tudoreanu & the rest of our Scottish Delegation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Video: Philippa Whitford says Trident doesn’t protect us

Dr Philippa Whitford MP points out that Trident doesn’t protect us from the real threats: cyber attack, terrorism and climate change.

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Day 2 of the nuclear ban treaty discussions

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

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Video: Ruth Maguire thanks Scottish civil society

Scottish parliamentarian, Ruth Maguire, thanks Scottish civil society for representing Scotland at the UN negotiations in New York.

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Day 1 of the nuclear ban treaty discussions

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. 

Yours,

Flavia Tudoreanu & the Scottish Delegation

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UK’s empty chair, part 2

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.

 

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Good wishes and Support for negotiations from Tommy Sheppard MP

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.

 

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