NPT and the TPNW at the UN

This year, our Scottish Parliamentarians have a unique opportunity to join diplomats and governments to advocate for nuclear disarmament, not just from Scotland but for the world. Can you help make that happen? Here’s the background and why it’s important.

This year, the Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) gets closer to ‘entry into force’, that is the point at which it will become binding on those who join. For that to happen we only need 16 of the states who have already signed to complete ratification by putting it through their national legislation. All Greens, SNP and a good number of Scottish Labour Parliamentarians have signed a pledge to support the TPNW. The unique opportunity for our parliamentarians will arise because the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is due for Review in New York in early May 1.

The United Nations established the NPT more than fifty years ago, to prevent proliferation, that is, to curb new nation states from entering an arms race that already threatened all humanity. The world expected the UN to create legislation to prevent any repetition of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The treaty has three main purposes, described as the three pillars; states have taken some action on the first two: no new state that has signed can develop nuclear weapons; no states that sign to be prevented from developing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The third pillar2 was a commitment by the (at that time 5) nuclear-armed states to complete nuclear disarmament. No legal route was established to determine how that would happen in the NPT, and while the size of their nuclear arsenals has diminished, the nuclear-armed states still have the capacity to destroy the world as we know it. Nuclear-armed member states have just been at loggerheads with the disarmament movement over multi- or unilateral approaches for years, proliferation has continued, and there are now nine nuclear-armed states. The treaty is reviewed at the UN every five years, with Preparatory Conferences between the Reviews.

In 2017, after a decade of global action by ICAN-partner-organisations’ supporters and diplomats, a new treaty, The Treaty On The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by the UN. It spells out how we can ban the bomb and what that means. The nine nuclear-armed states (and the UN member states which have capitulated to their pressure) have opposed the TPNW from the outset, suggesting that it somehow compromises the NPT. This highlights the hypocrisy of their position as NPT signatories. They have not disarmed, preferring policies like reduction of the numbers of weapons, no first use policies, implying that second use is OK, or other activities that allow them to retain the capacity to annihilate life on the planet. The TPNW actually complements the NPT and gives it the capacity to finish the job it set out to do, complete global disarmament. That’s why ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for its contribution to its adoption.

This NPT Review will be the first since the TPNW was adopted and it will be an important opportunity for the relationship between the two treaties to be highlighted. Scotland’s voice can be heard. MSP’s and Scottish MP’s can attend meetings that will take place, even if they are not part of the UK diplomatic delegation, so that in the international community Scotland is not misrepresented by UK ambassadors when they claim that the UK has a democratic mandate to renew its own nuclear weapons.

Nobel prize or no, ICAN has not finished its work yet, the campaign aims to abolish nuclear weapons! This means that the ICAN staff and the International Steering Group will be supporting the many UN member states who want to see the Treaty succeed, and even if Scotland is not a member of the UN, all parliamentarians who support the TPNW can meet and exchange ideas, experiences and opportunities to work for the TPNW. We can also lobby the nuclear armed states to make sure that they accept and discuss the impact of the TPNW on the NPT.

Scottish MPs and MSPs can meet with, for instance, the diplomats from Ireland and Austria who have worked so hard for nuclear disarmament, and talk informally together at the UN. This would be much hard to arrange in Scotland for diplomatic reasons.

ICAN is planning a special side event at the NPT where parliamentarians can meet. Off record meetings can be arranged with civil society organisations, nuclear weapons victims, scientists and academics. There will be a social event around the same time where informal exchanges can take place. Scottish MPs and our MSP’s can be accredited to attend through ICAN and its partner organisations.

Can you write to your elected representative(s) and urge them to attend?

SCND has a working group for the TPNW and members, as well as SCND staff can support you in making approaches. We have a model letter template which you can find on the nuclear website and we hope that you can adapt this to suit your regional and constituency MSPs and your MP.

SCND will also be looking for additional financial support, to make sure that we are appropriately represented at the meeting and able to provide briefings, and facilitate meetings in New York, so please consider if you can help in that way also.

This is a critical year for Scottish MPs and MSPs to support nuclear disarmament across the world by being in attendance at the NPT’s first Review Conference since the TPNW was adopted. Further details for any MSP’s interested in accreditation from Janet Fenton.

1The 2020
Review Conference
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
will take place from 27 April 2020 to
22 May 2020 in
New York, United States. The first or second weeks are likely to be
the best time for input from parliamentarians.

Nuclear Non-Proliferaton Treaty,

of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in
good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the
nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and
on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and
effective international control.

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Scottish Solidarity for New States Joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Today is the United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and as additional nations prepare to use that occasion to sign or ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), MSPs, councillors and ordinary people gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to express their solidarity with the Treaty and the worldwide movement behind it.

In attendance were representatives from partners in Scotland of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and they were joined by MSPs Alison Johnston, Mark Ruskell, Bruce Crawford, Gil Paterson, Bill Kidd, Emma Harper, Patrick Harvie, John Finnie, Ross Greer, Claire Adamson, Neil Findlay and Edinburgh Councillor Steve Burgess. At the event Steve handed to MSP Gil Paterson (as representing the Parliament) a copy of Edinburgh’s resolution to support the TPNW. While this was going on Steve was delighted to learn that today Fife Council had also signed up to the ICAN Cities Appeal.

After today’s special ceremony at the UN in New York 79 states have now signed the TPNW and 32 have ratified it. The Treaty will enter into force as international law when 50 states have ratified.

Janet Fenton, liaison in Scotland for ICAN said:

This is a planetary crisis – the climate emergency, bio-diversity collapse and the ever present threat of disastrous nuclear war. We urgently need a worldwide awakening and a worldwide collaborative response. While school strikers and XR are showing the way on climate, there is a global movement doing the same for the nuclear threat and tomorrow we will see the UN ban get closer. If the UK will not engage with that, here in Scotland we are getting in line, with Edinburgh and Renfrewshire councils, and most of our MPs and MSPs. We can all support the TPNW individually by challenging our banks and pension funds not to invest in nukes (or fossil fuels), and we can call out the outrageous transport of atomic warheads on our roads. We must take every chance to act in a world groaning to be free of the threat of extinction.”

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Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland: “Scottish LA pension funds bankroll nuke manufacture.”

Today the nuclear weapon divestment campaign Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland launched it’s new report on investment in nuclear weapon manufacture by Scottish institutions, including local authority pension funds.

Full report is here

The story has been reported by the Sunday National.

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Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland intends to launch the 2019 edition of our guide to nuclear weapons divestment in Scotland next week. The report details the nuclear weapons investments of Scottish banks, Scottish local authority pension funds, Scottish universities and the Scottish Parliamentary Pension Scheme, and features a step-by-step guide for people who want to get involved in the divestment campaign. Some of the changes in this year’s edition of the guide include:

  • the research covers 30 nuclear weapons companies compared to 22 last year;
  • detailed information on the investment policies of Scottish local authority pension funds has been added;
  • 10 Scottish universities are covered compared to last year’s five.

Our website is currently down while we update it with the new content, we will let you know when it is live again. We will also update you with details of the exact launch date and send you the press release and links to media coverage when we have these.We will be tweeting information from the guide using the hashtag #NaeCash4Nukes so please share widely if you can.
Thanks for any help you can give with this. 

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Kazakhstan anti-nuclear campaigner visits Scottish Parliament

Yesterday Karipbek Kuyukov from Kazakhstan visited the Scottish Parliament where he met and addressed MSPs, parliamentary researchers and civil society members of the parliament’s Cross Party Group on Nuclear Disarmament. The visit was timed to coincide with Kazakhstan’s ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The transcontinental Republic of Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world, historically populated by nomadic peoples, and formerly part of the USSR where hundred of nuclear weapons tests were conducted between 1949 and 1989 with devastating humanitarian biological and ecological consequences, with two million people damaged by radiation effects. During that period, Karipbek Kuyukov was born without arms. He has since became a very highly regarded painter and has exhibited around the world, utilising his talent and his unique perspective to illustrate and warn of nuclear danger. A number of his striking paintings were exhibited at the meeting.

In conversation with Janet Fenton, liaison in Scotland for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), about the potential for global disarmament, Karipbek said:

If we work together we can reach this goal. I think possessing nuclear weapons is a huge attraction for leaders of different countries as we can see from the example of North Korea. But it is ordinary people that are suffering. Just last December I talked at the UN and called on the leaders of the countries who have not yet joined the global ban treaty to do it.”

Janet also addressed the meeting and brought the gathering up to date with the progress of the ban treaty, the TPNW. 25 states have now ratified the Treaty, half the number required for entry into force as a legal instrument. A number of others are just about to take the step of ratification. In the Scottish Parliament all the SNP and Green members, and a number of labour members, have signed the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge in support of the Treaty.

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How Scots can align with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted at the UN in July 2017 by overwhelming vote. As of December 2019 time 80 countries have signed the Treaty and 34 of that number have ratified it. It will enter into force once 50 states have ratified. The TPNW is for the prohibition and ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons.

The minority of states which have refused so far to engage with the TPNW are the nuclear-armed states (9 in all), their client and dependent states and those states (like Australia and Japan) who for some reason consider themselves to be under the US “nuclear umbrella”. Lets call this whole group the Nuclear-armed States Incorporated (NASTI). The question for citizens of those states is: What can I and we do in this hostile regime to support and advance the Treaty?

Quite a lot, actually. First of all we need to get the fact that the whole campaign to advance the TPNW (a campaign led by ICAN) transcends national borders in a way we haven’t yet got adjusted to. It is vital that we do. The climate emergency requires a worldwide connected response and the same holds true for the threat of nuclear war. For one thing the efforts of folk in the NASTI states give enormous encouragement to people in the 70 signatory states to keep the pressure on for ratification, and, for the 24 ratifiers, to begin to work out all the implications of that huge step for their own behaviour as a state. The external pressure from the Treaty supporting majority is linked strongly to any and every internal crack we can open in the NASTI states. In Scotland we already have a fine wrecking bar inserted in the nuclear concrete – but more of that in a moment. Apart from the great work being done internationally by ICAN there are brilliant campaigns in a number of NASTI countries. For example there is the Nuclearban.US with guidance on house to begin alignment with the Treaty at personal and work up to community, city, state and national level. ICAN Australia have a lively and visible campaign and has engaged the support of many parliamentarians.

In this whole mix Scotland is more important than most of us imagine. We are almost unique as a significant part of a nuclear-armed state which opposes the nuclear weapon policy of that state and aspires, realistically, to independence, which could then disarm the whole UK. But it is critical that we play an active part right now.

Here are some of the things we can do to align with the Treaty:

  1. Read it! It’s not long and it is a beautifully clear and compelling document.
  2. Check whether you MP and MSPs have signed the ICAN Parliamentarians Pledge in support of the Treaty. The majority of Scottish parliamentarians have signed but if any of yours haven’t then please nudge them. You can check that here. For those parliamentarians who have signed dropping them a card or an email thanking them for their stance is a very positive thing to do. And, of course we may have a Westminster election in the near future when we are likely to need to approach some new MPs.
  3. ICAN have a very useful way for cities and local governments to register their support for the Treaty in opposition to the stance of the national government. Many cities in NASTI states have already signed up to the Cities Appeal, including Paris, Toronto, Sydney, Nagasaki and Berlin. So far in Scotland we have Edinburgh, along with Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire. ICAN partners in Scotland are working on how to move this forward but it is not too soon to approach your ward councillors to encourage them to get their council on board.
  4. Follow the money. When the Treaty is in force signatory states will be barred for aiding and assisting the production or deployment of nuclear weapons and this includes ceasing to invest in companies involved in their manufacture or any aspect of their system. Some large international investment companies have caught on to this and have already decided to take their funds out of nuke related companies. We can lobby our local government to do likewise (as West Lothian Council has decided to do). Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland has an excellent guide on the ramifications of nuclear weapon money. Institutions can also be challenged to disinvest but . .
  5. . . it is also a personal matter. You can check whether the bank or banks that has your money by using the guide or writing to them to ask. If they do you can ask them to cease and switch to an ethical bank or building society if they refuse. Engaging with them is really important.
  6. Keep in touch as far as possible with what is happening with the Treaty worldwide. ICAN International is on Facebook and Twitter, ICAN UK is on Twitter, and .
  7. . with ICAN work in Scotland via this website, Scrap Trident on Facebook and Twitter, Scottish CND on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and Trident Ploughshares on Twitter.
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SCND’s Iona Soper, Emma Cockburn, Janet Fenton and Brian Quail, and are undertaking a fast in commemoration of the atomic attacks by the US Government on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th and 9th August 1945. They act as part of an international initiative. Their statements will be issued, one for each day.

From Janet: Fasting from the day and time of the Hiroshima attack until the time of the Nagasaki attack for me is taking a little time and experiencing a little personal discomfort. It a kind of marker as each year goes by. I was young when I learned, from John Hersey’s book, Hiroshima, of the effects of the bomb detonated there and the shock of his words has never left me. At the time, as a child of the post-war years, I was aware of the Nuremberg trials, and fully expected the US Government to have to appear at the Hague. I imagined that the UK Government could not possibly understand what they were dealing with and I thought that when I explained they would stop it at once. Not so.

Years later, I ran a shop, a community resource, and that was when I started with the annual fast. We’d take all the stock out, and redecorate, and then some of us would just sit there, with water to drink, and people would call in to ask why there was nothing there although the door was open. It was a good opportunity to explain to people who might not have come to a public meeting or engaged with us on a street stall. The level of discomfort is far less than that experienced in various illnesses I have had to cope with, but it is real and it does focus on the essential frailty of the body and the changes that even a mere three days without food cause. A reminder that human beings (and other animals) need bodies to live in, and bodies are vulnerable. Its a profoundly personal experience and others may do something different.

However, Hiroshima must be remembered and the inextricable links between our treatment of the planet we rely on and the reality of our bodies must not be underestimated or ignored. In the 1960’s I started with stuffing envelopes for Youth CND, and activity for nuclear disarmament has taken me eventually to the UN and work on the prohibition treaty, and to resistance at the bases and the institutions of power. Reflection and engagement with the body and the planet are a necessary part of the activity.

From Brian: Day 3 and it’s getting difficult. Why am I fasting? I fast because this is – in the deepest sense – a gut response to the evil of Hiroshima. By this small act, I am spiritually identifying with the victims. People like Fukuhara Eiji, nine years old; he was walking to school when a red dragonfly flew past and settled on a fence. He reached out to catch it, and at that moment his world ended. When he came to, everything was darkness filled with screaming. He thought he had died and gone to hell. Then he saw shapes approaching and recognised his mother. He reasoned: This cannot be hell, because my mother is good, and she would not be in hell. But why are her clothes trailing behind her? Only it wasn’t her clothes, it was her skin.…

Everywhere was heard the cry for water Misu, Misu…. Miserere nobis, Domine. God forgive us the blast of our blasphemy. What we have done to your children, our brothers and sisters.

When I threw the chrysanthemums into the Kelvin, I though of the people who burnt black and maddened with pain, threw themselves into the water.

A surgeon bends over a little girl, and gently lifts her eyelids with tweezers. Her eyeballs had melted and run down her face. She is turned round and the doctor extracts a white maggot from her arm. Why does irradiated flesh fester so quickly?

I think of Analong Lijon, from the Marshal Islands, whom I met her in Glasgow. She told us of her experiences, as a victim of atom testing. She had had six miscarriages; her sister carried 13 dead babies She told us about the jellyfish babies, the miscarriages, the gross birth defects, babies like a bunch of grapes. The unspeakable horror. When she finished speaking I went up to her and took her little brown hand in mine. Not one word could I say to her. I still can’t.

I am sick of words. Of are death-bringing lies. “Trident” – Latin, abstract, remote classical and therefore acceptable. And all the other hellish weasel words. Deterrence, robust defence policy, multilateral, unilateral, balance phased reduction, surgical first strike, countervalue strategy and so on as nauseam.

I am sick of the whole hellish pantomime. So I fast.

From Iona: I am fasting for myself. I am fasting for strangers. I am fasting for the dead, along with those not yet born. I am fasting because I love this planet.

I am fasting because I do not have the luxury of ignorance about what nuclear weapons are, or what they can do. The censorship surrounding atomic bombs was lifted long before my birth, and I believe my generation has an obligation to resist the normalisation that replaced it. I will be spending the week at Faslane Peace Camp, where we will hold commemorative vigils for the victims of the 1945 nuclear attacks at the Faslane nuclear base across the road.

All are welcome to join the fast, or to join us at the peace camp in solidarity.

I am fasting to remember the terrible suffering that has already come about as a result of the atomic bombings in Japan. During the Pacific War, many children aged 6 – 11 were evacuated from central Hiroshima to the surrounding countryside amid fears for their safety. The bombing killed more than 90% of the central city’s population, creating a diaspora of young orphans who tried to return to the city, only to find their homes destroyed and families gone. Hibakusha Shoso Kawamoto recalls how a black market sprang up around the ruins of the train station, where local women set up stalls to attempt to feed the orphaned children. Older children bullied younger children; the only way the smaller ones could survive was by scraping the food left in the pans. Within months, many of the orphans had died of starvation. Shoso recalls that ‘some were so hungry, they died with stones in their mouths’.

I am fasting to foreshadow the terrible suffering that is yet to come if the struggle for peace cannot be realised. Research by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) suggests that if even as few as 100 Hiroshima sized warheads are used in a ‘regional conflict’, this would throw five million tonnes of black soot into the atmosphere, triggering a reduction of 1.25°C in the average temperature at the earth’s surface for several years. As a result, the annual growing season in the world’s most important grain-producing areas would shrink by between 10 and 20 days. Countries which import more than half of their grain, such as Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan, would be particularly vulnerable. So, too, would 150 million people in north Africa, which imports 45% of its food. Many of the 800 million around the world who are already officially malnourished would also suffer. Increases in food prices would make food inaccessible to hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest. Even if agricultural markets continued to function normally, 215 million people would be added to the list of the malnourished over the course of a decade. This level of malnourishment and starvation is unprecedented in human history, and one that we have not prepared for. Global grain reserves currently stand lower than they have in the last five decades.

I am fasting to protest the funding of human suffering over human need. Attention must be drawn to the grotesque amounts of money dedicated to warfare and weaponry in the name of ‘defence’, while so many souls are left defenceless against starvation. In this country alone, we have pledged £200bn of taxpayer funds to maintaining our weapons of mass destruction, while 8 million live in food poverty. Globally, one out of every nine humans on earth does not have enough food to sustain themselves. It is expected that over the next ten years, world governments will spend over $1 trillion on nuclear weapons.

I am fasting to acknowledge and salute the role of the woman in this struggle for peace.

I am fasting because hunger is a powerful force. By experiencing even one tiny aspect of the suffering I have dedicated myself to overting, it is my hope that I will do a stronger, hungrier, and more empathetic service to this vital campaign. We need change. We need it now. And we need it fast.

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Campaigners Reclaim UK Nuke Base for Peace on Anniversary of Nuke Ban Treaty

On the second anniversary of the day that the United Nations agreed to ban the bomb Trident Ploughshares, in order to challenge Faslane’s legitimacy and highlight the progress that has been made since a huge majority of the world’s states took the ban decision, used spray paint to re-decorate the main entrance of the base for peace and blocked the the base’s other entrance.

Their aim was to remind the public and those working in the base that most governments now agree that nuclear weapons must be prohibited and eliminated and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) that was adopted at the UN aims to do just that. While the nuclear-armed states may not agree, they will have to come to terms somehow with the impact that the TPNW is already having because the ban prohibits any nuclear sharing, testing and development as well as use.

Trident Ploughshares is one of 400 partner organisations in ICAN – the worldwide campaign that worked to get the treaty adopted. Others partner organisations in Scotland share the commitment that nuclear weapons need to be removed not only from Scotland but from the world and the Scottish government is supportive. Since the TPNW opened for signature 24 out of the required 50 member states have already put the treaty through their national legislation and ratified it and around 20 more are actively working towards that. The number who have taken the initial action of signing the treaty is in excess of the number required.

The group had time to paint “Banned 7/7/17” and “Nae Nukes Anywhere” on the notice boards and “Scrap” and “Redundant” on the gate to the base, and also covered the roadway with slogans referring to the Ban Treaty. Eventually the MoD police arrived and arrested the three painters, Eoin McCarthy, Janet Fenton, Gillean Lawrence, charging them with vandalism. They were taken to Greenock police station and released shortly afterwards. Meanwhile Brian Quail from Glasgow and Willemien Hoogendoorn, from Faslane Peace Camp, were able to hold up base traffic by blocking the base’s south gate.

Janet Fenton, Vice-Chair of Scottish CND, who participated in the Treaty negotiations at the UN, said:

This is a real treaty that represents the global view of nuclear weapons in the light of the very real danger of burning up our planet and destroying all life. At a time when Scotland is in tune with a mature trans-national view it was necessary to re-name the base at Faslane for the redundant anachronism that it is.”

Gillean Lawrence said:

The Scottish government could be more assertive in publicising the ban treaty, especially since the First Minister and most parliamentarians support it – a first step to getting rid of nuclear weapons from Scotland. Scotland’s police and courts should be active in tackling this crime instead of arresting and convicting protesters.”

Eoin McCarthy said:

On the 2nd anniversary of the TPNW , after 122 countries voted to adopt it, and Extinction Rebellion has brought the climate crisis to public attention, Scotland wants to bin the bomb more than ever.”


The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by overwhelming vote at the UN in July 2107.Prior to the Treaty’s adoption, nuclear weapons, though clearly illegal by the basic principles of international humanitarian law, were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a comprehensive ban, despite their catastrophic, widespread and persistent humanitarian and environmental consequences. The new agreement fills a significant gap in international law. The TPNW prohibits signatory nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities. A nation that possesses nuclear weapons may join the treaty, so long as it agrees to destroy them in accordance with a legally binding, time-bound plan. Similarly, a nation that hosts another nation’s nuclear weapons on its territory may join, so long as it agrees to remove them by a specified deadline. The Treaty also deals with the disproportionate effect of ionised radiation on women and girls. Indeed, the whole ethos of the Treaty’s development is seen as a unique step forward in global disarmament with the voices of women prominent in the civil society and diplomatic contributions to its progress, in contrast to the conventional male-dominated discourse around security.

To enter into force the Treaty requires ratification by 50 states. So far 24 states have ratified, but 70 have already signed it, which is a preliminary to the more complex and slower process of ratification by national legislatures.

The “P5” nuclear-weapon states (US, UK, China, Russia and France) are critical of the Treaty and claim it will destabilise global security. The US, with the UK as a compliant partner, is applying background pressure on non-nuclear states not to sign and ratify the Treaty. In its leaked communication to NATO states in advance of the adoption of the Treaty the US urged a vote against adoption on the grounds of the potential effectiveness of the Treaty to critically hamper the “extended nuclear deterrence” it claims to provide.

Scotland is in the almost unique position of being a significant and distinct part of a Nuclear-armed states which opposes the nuclear weapon policy of that state. As well as the public and civil society backing for the anti-nuclear stance the majority of Scottish parliamentarians have expressed their support for the TPNW by signing the Parliamentary Pledgepromoted by the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). If Scotland becomes independent and continues to wish to be rid of the UK’s nuclear weapons it will, as a party to the Treaty, have additional legal backing in arranging their removal. It is widely acknowledged that in such a scenario the UK would not be able to find a replacement for the Faslane/Coulport complex and so continuing with sea-based ICBMs would not be feasible.

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Congratulations to Edinburgh for making a capital move this week, with Green Councillors introducing a resolution for the city to become part of the ICAN Cities Appeal. The Cities Appeal describes the threat that nuclear weapons pose throughout the world, and insists that we all have the right to live free from such a catastrophic threat, and its consequences for people and the environment. The adoption of the treaty in 2017 is welcomed and Westminster is asked to join it. This appeal is being made to national governments by local legislative bodies throughout the nuclear-armed states in the world. They are calling for them to get on board and join the TPNW.

Edinburgh Council have taken the opportunity to add more, and introduce their resolution in line with Edinburgh’s status as an Nuclear Free Local Authority.

By working together, we could make sure that the majority of Scottish local authorities are signed up to the ICAN Cities Appeal before too long, and where the chance arises it can be added to as Edinburgh have done, either within the resolution or as a follow up.

Activists can be sure of support from the ICAN Scottish partners working on the Cities Appeal and our voices raised together will be heard. A simple message to your local councillor can go a long way! See the resources tab on this website for more details and contact the partner organisations via the links on the right or email us


Climate Emergency & Nuclear Weapons

The Extinction Rebellion campers at Holyrood this week, and many of the commuters who listened to them at North Bridge road blocks, or the MSPs who came out of the debating chamber to talk to them are in now in agreement about the threat that faces all life on this planet from the human induced climate emergency. How have we come to such a crisis so late?

Our governments are wrangling over their ideologies instead of taking better care of us, or heeding the scientists who have been pointing out the risks to the planet and its peoples are facing?   The climate emergency has not replaced the nuclear threat and scientists are telling us that both require  interrelated and immediate attention as well as urgent action by people everywhere.

There are more than 14,000 nuclear weapons positioned across our world, 120 of them sited here in Scotland (despite a parliament and a government who have declared their opposition to the UK policy  that sees them as required). Each100 kiloton nuclear weapon detonated would take around 10 seconds to produce a fireball hotter than the sun over a three kilometer radius, while carbon is hefted into the atmosphere, and ash obscures light and warmth.  The possibility of combating this kind of assault on the physics of the planet without the climate emergency rapidly going out of any control is remote. The extreme and violent weathers that are part of the climate emergency closing in on us make water and food shortages and human migration inevitable, causing conflicts and making the likelihood of an accident or deliberate use of nuclear weapons increasingly likely.

This is why the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have set their Doomsday Clock at two minutes to a midnight that means annihilation, from the twin threats of nuclear weapons and the climate emergency.  Surely now, the adoption in 2017 by the majority of the UN members of a new treaty to absolutely prohibit nuclear weapons, The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), can eliminate one aspect of this deadly double edged threat. The model process of transnational co operation, responsible, careful listening and facing up to the truth that put the Treaty in place could be the key to sufficiently speedy action to respond to the other.

The extinction threat level is severe. The UK Government has had its knuckles rapped over its hypocritical arms trading to Yemen and its come-uppance over its shameful  treatment of the Chagos Islanders. So much for the credibility of the UK and the US as responsible leaders of a free world. Should Boris or Hunt get any mandate to resolve the crisis? More on this issue in the next edition of SCND’s Nuclear Free Scotland..

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