ACTION: PETITION: Lead on Abolition of Nuclear Weapons!

ACTION: PETITION: Lead on Abolition of Nuclear Weapons!

Postby Oscar » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:16 am

ACTION ALERT: Sign the Petition: Urge Canada to Lead on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons!

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August 4, 2016

QUOTE: “At the very moment Canadian leadership was once more needed, the country took a dive.” - DOUGLAS ROCHE
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Canada spurns UN nuclear disarmament plan

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August 26, 2016

In an article which first appeared in Wednesday’s Hill Times [ ... 6_ht-2.pdf ] , former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament Doug Roche [ ] delivered a stinging rebuke to the Liberal government for its recent actions in the Geneva Conference on Disarmament [ ]. See Canada Turns Back on UN Nuclear Disarmament Plan (Douglas Roche, 24 August 2016). [ ... t-Plan.pdf ]

The focus of his concern was the vote by Canada in the Geneva Open-ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament [ ] against nuclear disarmament negotiations. Writes former Ambassador Roche:

“The government turned its back on an important nuclear disarmament initiative and sided with the nuclear weapons states that want to keep and modernize their nuclear arsenals for the rest of the 21st century.

Canadian Tariq Rauf [ ], one of the world’s leading experts on nuclear disarmament and head of the Disarmament, Arms Control, and Non-proliferation Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, went even further, saying Trudeau “seems disengaged on nuclear arms control” and that the present government has “undermined” the nuclear disarmament work so valiantly championed by Pierre Trudeau.

This astounding action by Canada comes just as nuclear disarmament experts are gearing up for a conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, Building a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World [ ... isarmament ], which will take place on 28-29 August.

In the words of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who will open the conference:

“We hope to capitalize on the leadership Kazakhstan has been taking for a nuclear-weapon-free world. On August 29, 1991, I officially closed the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site (also known as “The Polygon”) [ ... ree-world/ ], which had been the primary testing venue for the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons.

This conference will bring together parliamentarians and mayors from around the world, along with a selection of religious leaders, government officials, disarmament experts, policy analysts, civil society campaigners, and representatives of international and regional organisations (UN, OSCE [ ], ICRC [ ... ays-making ] , etc.) to build political will and traction for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

Among those in attendance will be Rideau Institute President and former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament Peggy Mason, who will make a presentation in Panel Session I: Security without nuclear weapons or war: “Manifesto of the World for the 21st Century”. [ ... eakers.pdf ]

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For those who have not yet signed it, please click here to call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop undermining negotiations and, instead, begin to lead internationally on nuclear disarmament. [ ]

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Canada turns back on UN plan to ban nuclear arms

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“At the very moment Canadian leadership was once more needed, the country took a dive.” - DOUGLAS ROCHE

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EDMONTON—In an amazing diplomatic volte-face, the Canadian government last week in Geneva voted against starting, in 2017, negotiations to ban nuclear weapons. The government turned its back on an important nuclear disarmament initiative and sided with the nuclear weapons states that want to keep and modernize their nuclear arsenals for the rest of the 21st century.

This is an astounding Canadian action and has given the back of the government’s hand to civil society groups across Canada and 900 members of the Order of Canada who have urged the government to join in nuclear negotiations as called for by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The Mexican government hailed the Geneva vote as the “most significant contribution to nuclear disarmament in two decades.” But the Canadian government scorned it.

The vote took place at the Open-Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament [ ], established by a United Nations resolution, which has been meeting throughout 2016 to find a legal path to the elimination of nuclear weapons. The meeting ended with 68 nations voting yes, 22 voting no, and 13 abstaining on a report containing a wide range of well considered measures, including negotiations, to break out of the nuclear disarmament logjam that continues to endanger the world community.

The blame for the Canadian diplomatic debacle belongs squarely on the desk of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose office won’t even answer letters or phone calls from high-ranking persons trying to alert him to the need for Canadian action. Tariq Rauf, one of the world’s leading experts on nuclear disarmament, says that Trudeau “seems disengaged on nuclear arms control” and that the government has “undermined” the nuclear disarmament work so valiantly championed by Pierre Trudeau.

In 1983, at the height of the Cold War, Pierre Trudeau led a peace mission to Moscow, Washington, and other nuclear capitals to call a halt to the nuclear arms race. In 1998, a Liberal government caused NATO to review its nuclear policies. In 2000, the government was a chief negotiator in obtaining a consensus at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.

The Harper government showed little interest in nuclear disarmament, but when Justin Trudeau revived Canada’s involvement in the United Nations’ agenda, many observers, both in Canada and abroad, expected he would turn his attention to the worsening nuclear weapons threat to world peace.

However, United States-Russia relations deteriorated and NATO toughened all its stands. Neither the current prime minister nor Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion has shown any inclination to challenge NATO’s outmoded Strategic Concept, which holds that nuclear weapons are the “supreme guarantee” of security. The Foreign Affairs officials just follow along, and so Canada joined with NATO states in opposing the new Geneva report, the very essence of which expressed “deep concern over the threat to humanity posed by the existence of nuclear weapons and the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any detonation.” At the very moment Canadian leadership was once more needed, Canada took a dive.

It’s hard to overstate the dangers to the world posed by the 15,350 nuclear weapons in existence, many of them on hairtrigger alert.

Piecemeal nuclear disarmament measures have all failed to halt the modernization programs now being carried out by the nuclear powers, which are spending enormous amounts of money to keep their nuclear arsenals.

So frustrated are many nations with the big powers’ continued violations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which calls for “good faith” negotiations, that they started a process to highlight the threat to humanity. This led to a UN resolution setting up a working group in Geneva.
The five major nuclear weapons states—the U.S., Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China—boycotted the process. And Canada joined a group of Western states calling themselves “progressive,” but who actually undermined comprehensive efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons by holding out for piecemeal measures that have never stopped the nuclear arms race.

Mr. Dion openly admits that Canada won’t support new efforts because of “obligations” to NATO. Well, what about our obligations to the United Nations, to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to safeguard humanity from a nuclear catastrophe?

What is perplexing about the Canadian vote is that Canada gave up much of what it wants. The report supports a variety of approaches to achieve a legal prohibition of nuclear weapons, many of which, such as the Comprehensive Test Ban and a ban on the production of fi ssile materials, are in the Canadian catalogue of demands. It says explicitly that “there is more than one way in which nuclear disarmament can be achieved.” But because it also includes negotiations, Canada opposes it.

Canada could have abstained, as Norway and the Netherlands, two other NATO countries, did. But Canada didn’t even use this diplomatic device to at least keep the door to negotiations open. No, Canada slammed it shut. That is an insult to all those Canadians who do see the humanitarian value of a nuclear weapons-free world.

The report recognizes that, at the start, the nuclear powers won’t participate and that merely prohibiting nuclear weapons does not mean their immediate elimination. But bringing willing nations together can lead to the “stigmatization” of nuclear weapons and further progress down the road.

Why is the Canadian government opposed to “stigmatization?” Because it will lead to delegitimizing the possession of nuclear weapons and challenge the military doctrine of nuclear deterrence. Washington definitely does not want that to happen.

The Canadian government is trying to have it both ways: to support the “unequivocal undertaking” it has made to the NPT to eliminate nuclear weapons, and to support NATO’s fi xation on the value of nuclear weapons.

Now what is the government going to do? There is bound to be a vote in the UN General Assembly in mid-October on a resolution establishing a negotiating process. Will Canada succumb to the nuclear hegemony of the big powers or will it stand up for Canadian values and support a Unsponsored negotiating process?

When Justin Trudeau is finally seized of the issue and sees it in the light of his aspirations for a Canadian seat on the Security Council, we may get the answer Canada deserves.

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Former senator and ambassador for disarmament, Douglas Roche served as chairman of the United Nations Disarmament Committee. His forthcoming book is Hope Not Fear: Building Peace in a Fractured World. The Hill Times

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Tariq Rauf, who specializes in nuclear disarmament, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, ‘seems disengaged on nuclear arms control.’ UN photograph by Amanda Voisard

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From: Gordon Edwards
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 12:39 AM
Subject: ICAN: UN talks recommend negotiating a global nuclear weapons ban treaty in 2017






The United Nations General Assembly voted in December 2015 to establish a special working group with a mandate to develop “legal measures, legal provisions and norms” for achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world. The Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) – backed by 138 nations – focused its efforts on elaborating the elements for a global treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

The OEWG met in Geneva on 18-23 February, 2-13 May and concluded in August where it adopted a report with recommendations to the UN General Assembly to start negotiations in 2017 on a treaty banning nuclear weapons.


International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons UN talks recommend negotiations of nuclear weapons ban treaty

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ICAN, August 19, 2016

In a dramatic final day, the ground-breaking UN talks on nuclear disarmament concluded by making a clear recommendation to start negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Known as the “Open-Ended Working Group” (OEWG), the talks have taken place in February, May and August of this year and have outlined a number of elements that should be included in a new legally binding instrument which prohibits nuclear weapons. The majority support for the ban treaty was clearly underlined by joint statements delivered by Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Pacific as well as statements from several European states.

Resistance continued to come throughout the working group from a small group of states who continued to argue that nuclear weapons are essential to their national security. Despite threatening to block a report which contained a recommendation for a ban treaty, these governments did not have the leverage to thwart the successful outcome of the group.

After long deliberations, it seemed that States were going to agree to a compromised report which reflected the views of both sides of the ban treaty issue. However, after this agreement had seemingly been secured behind closed doors, Australia made a last-second turnaround and announced that it was objecting to the draft of the report and called for a vote. In spite of the opposition from Australia and several other pro-nuclear weapon states, the majority was able to carry the day. On that basis, the working group was able to recommend the start of negotiations on a new legal instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons.

This breakthrough is result of the new global discourse on nuclear weapons. Bringing together governments, academia and civil society, a series of three conferences have uncovered new evidence about the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the risks of their use, whether accidental or intentional. The momentum generated by the “humanitarian initiative” has now culminated with the international community on the verge of negotiating a nuclear weapons ban.

Nuclear weapons remain the only weapons of mass destruction not yet prohibited under international law, despite their inhumane and indiscriminate nature. A ban would not only make it illegal for nations to use or possess nuclear weapons; it would also help pave the way to their complete elimination. Nations committed to reaching the goal of abolition have shown that they are ready to start negotiations next year.

It is now up to the October meeting of the UN General Assembly First Committee to bring forward this process by issuing a mandate to start the negotiating process.



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The OWEG Report was publicly released on August 23, 2016.


Many very useful resources can be found at
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Re: ACTION: PETITION: Lead on Abolition of Nuclear Weapons!

Postby Oscar » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:09 am

Trudeau government votes against UN negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban

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August 30, 2016 - 12:41pm

The Trudeau government voted against the adoption of a United Nations report on August 19 that recommended negotiations for a global treaty banning nuclear weapons.

The Guardian UK reports, "The report, which recommended negotiations begin in 2017 to ban nuclear weapons, was eventually passed by 68 votes to 22. ...The proposal recommended a conference be held next year to negotiate 'a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination'. ...The next step will be for the proposal for negotiations to begin in 2017 will be tabled at the United Nations general assembly, after which it is likely formal negotiations will begin."

The United Nations News Centre has noted, "Marking the International Day against Nuclear Tests [on August 29], senior United Nations officials called for the entry into force of a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments. ...[UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says a prohibition on all nuclear testing would] boost momentum for other disarmament measures by showing that multilateral cooperation is possible, and it will build confidence for other regional security measures, including a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction."

Their media release adds that 183 countries have now signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and 164 countries have ratified it. But Xinhua explains, "Open for signature in 1996, the legally binding CTBT is a multilateral treaty by which states agree to ban all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes. In a message to the International Day against Nuclear Tests, Ban noted since its adoption 20 years ago, the CTBT has yet to enter into force."

The Guardian adds, "Moves towards a ban have been pursued because many saw little progress under the existing non-proliferation treaty, which obliges the five declared nuclear states to 'pursue negotiations in good faith' towards 'cessation of the nuclear arms race … and nuclear disarmament'."

An update from the New Democratic Party has commented, "The recent vote by the Liberals at the UN is shocking. Inexplicably, the Liberals voted against the adoption of a UN report recommending negotiations for a global treaty banning nuclear weapons."

In mid-March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would be seeking a seat on the United Nations Security Council for a two-year term beginning in 2021. At that time, Trudeau said that Canada was prepared to play a leading role on the world stage and that he wanted to promote international peace highlighting, "this is how we build the world of tomorrow". Voting against negotiations on a global treaty banning nuclear weapons would seem to contradict that pledge.

In 2011, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow signed a global statement that declared, "The human community should phase out, abolish and replace (nuclear) technologies with alternatives that do not threaten present and future generations. This applies to nuclear weapons as well as to nuclear power reactors."
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In April 2015, the Council of Canadians also signed the Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium which calls on all nations to renounce nuclear weapons.
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