[pjw] Treaty banning nuclear weapons approved at UN 122-1 (Guardian 7/7)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sun Jul 9 16:00:35 EDT 2017

122 countries at the UN voted to ban nuclear weapons Friday. The US an 8 
other nuclear powers were not there. The Netherlands-- which to my 
surprise has nuclear weapons on its territory-- was the only "no" vote.

We were discussing this treaty at the planning meetings for the Hiroshima 
Day event (coming up on Wednesday August 9). It's a great thing but we 
need to pressure the US to sign onto this treaty. It will be available for 
ratification starting Sept. 20, which is I believe when the UN general 
assembly annual meeting is held.

In addition to the Guardian article (below) I also received a piece that 
was posted on Common  Dreams with quotes from Physicians for Social 
Responsibility and more links.

So, some exciting news in the era of unrestrained US military activity and 
general global madness.
dan h
peace and justice works

Treaty banning nuclear weapons approved at UN
    Supporters hail step towards nuclear-free world as treaty is backed by
    122 countries
    [143]Ian Sample Science editor   @iansample
    Friday 7 July 2017 11.53 EDT Last modified on Friday 7 July 2017
    12.55 EDT

    More than 70 years after the world witnessed the devastating power of
    nuclear weapons, a global treaty has been approved to ban the bombs, a
    move that supporters hope will lead to the eventual elimination of all
    nuclear arms.

    The treaty was endorsed by 122 countries at the [144]United Nations
    headquarters in New York on Friday after months of talks in the face of
    strong opposition from nuclear-armed states and their allies. Only the
    Netherlands, which took part in the discussion, despite having US
    nuclear weapons on its territory, voted against the treaty.

    All of the countries that bear nuclear arms and many others that either
    come under their protection or host weapons on their soil boycotted the
    negotiations. The most vocal critic of the discussions, the US, pointed
    to the [145]escalation of North KoreaÕs nuclear and ballistic missile
    programme as one reason to retain its nuclear capability. The UK did
    not attend the talks despite government claims to support multilateral

    ÒItÕs been seven decades since the world knew the power of destruction
    of nuclear weapons and since day one there was a call to prohibit
    nuclear weapons,Ó Elayne Whyte G—mez, president of the UN conference,
    told the Guardian. ÒThis is a very clear statement that the
    international community wants to move to a completely different
    security paradigm that does not include nuclear weapons.Ó

    The 10-page [146]treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons will be
    open for signatures from any UN member state on 20 September during the
    annual general assembly. While countries that possess nuclear weapons
    are not expected to sign up any time soon, supporters of the treaty
    believe it marks an important step towards a nuclear-free world by
    banning the weapons under international law.

    ÒItÕs a prohibition in line with other prohibitions on weapons of mass
    destruction,Ó said Beatrice Fihn at the [147]International Campaign to
    Abolish Nuclear Weapons in Geneva. ÒWe banned biological weapons 45
    years ago, we banned chemical weapons 25 years ago, and today we are
    banning nuclear weapons.Ó Within two years the treaty could have the
    50-state ratifications that it needs to enter into international law,
    she said.

    Previous UN treaties have been effective even when key nations have
    failed to sign up to them. The US did not sign up to the landmines
    treaty, but has completely aligned its landmines policy to comply
    nonetheless. ÒThese kinds of treaties have an impact that forces
    countries to change their behaviour. It is not going to happen fast,
    but it does affect them,Ó Fihn said. ÒWe have seen on all other weapons
    that prohibition comes first, and then elimination. This is taking the
    first step towards elimination.Ó

    Under the new treaty, signatory states must agree not to develop, test,
    manufacture or possess nuclear weapons, or threaten to use them, or
    allow any nuclear arms to be stationed on their territory.

    Richard Moyes, managing director of [148]Article 36, a UK organisation
    that works to prevent harm from nuclear and other weapons, said the
    negotiations had made clear that Òa substantial number of states think
    that killing hundreds and thousands of people and poisoning their
    environment is morally wrong and that this should be reflected in lawÓ.

    He added: ÒThe UK, along with other states that possess nuclear
    weapons, has chosen to boycott these talks, but the process has shown
    that any group of committed and concerned states can and should take
    collective responsibility to reject these horrific weapons.Ó

    Instead of scrapping their nuclear stocks, the UK and other nuclear
    powers want to strengthen the 1968 nuclear nonproliferation treaty
    (NPT), a pact that aims to prevent the spread of the weapons outside
    the original five nuclear powers: the US, Russia, Britain, France and
    China. It requires countries to hold back from nuclear weapons
    programmes in exchange for a commitment from the nuclear powers to move
    towards nuclear disarmament and to provide access to peaceful nuclear
    energy technology. The new treaty reflects a frustration among
    non-nuclear states that the NPT has not worked as hoped.

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