In October o lest year, at a meetin o the First Committee o the UN General Assembly – whilk deals wi issues o disarmament an international security – a laundmerk resolution waes adoptit tae launch negotiations oan a ‘legally bindin instrument tae ootlaw nuclear wappens, leadin taewart thir total elimination’. Also kent as the ‘Ban Treaty’, this wad see the ootlawin o the research, development, testin, stockpilin, an yaise o nuclear wappens.
The resolution cam as the result o the findins o a UN warkin group tae fill the legal gap in the ootlawin an elimination o nuclear wappens, whilk met oan three occasions lest year.
A haunfu o states threipit an taiglet an ettlit at cowpin the resolution – the nuclear-airmed anes, it shuidnae conflummix – but the owerwhelmin majority o states tholed an owercome. The resolution, co-sponsored by 57 nations, wi Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria an Sooth Africa takkin the lead in scrievin it – waes votit fur by a total o 123 nations, wi 38 agin (includin the UK), an 16 abstainin.
Follaen oan fae this success, the formal negotiations, open tae aw member states, are set tae begin in Merch o this year in New York, gaun oan intae June an July.
Biological wappens, chemical wappens, anti-personnel landmines an clusters munitions are aw awready explicitly ootlawed unner international law. But anely pairtial prohibitions currently exist fur nuclear wappens (sic as the Non-Proliferation Treaty) makkin thaim the anely wappens o muckle malafoosterin no yet tae hae been ootlawed in a fou an universal manner throu an ootricht ban.
An thou their ootlawin, gin it gaes aheid, willnae likely be supportit by aw states, an willnae gar aw the nuclear states disairm owernicht, it will undootetly send oot a strang moral seegnal agin thir immoral wappens, in parteecular, stigmatisin an pittin global pressure oan thir nations whae still hae thaim an are e’en in the process o renewin thaim as ah scrieve.
An the moral case agin nuclear wappens haurdly needs statin. Fur the indeterminate an indescribable human skaith an dree that wad result fae thair yaise wad gae faur ayont onythin we could jalouse in oor warst nichtmares. An wi the frichtsome picturs, stastistics an stories o the eftermath o the US bombins o Hiroshima an Nagasaki – whilk shuid hae been mair nor eneuch tae see humanity pit an end tae nuclear wappens thair an then – naebody can plead unkennin o thir horrors.
Wi mair nor 15, 000 nuclear wappens still in the warld the day, their ootlawin in 2017 wad be late, but better late nor ne’er. As a letter scrievit by the International Physicians fur the Prevention o Nuclear War (winner o the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize) an sent tae UN threipin it tae adopt the resolution lest year pit it: ‘the dangers posed by nuclear wappens are utterly unacceptable an the anely siccar wey tae prevent an unthinkable catastrophe is tae eliminate thaim completely’.
Forby, in Scotland moral opposeetion tae nuclear weapons bides fur mony o us alangside moral ootrage that they shuid be here in oor very ain kintra. Brexit micht be the democratic deficit o the day, but fur me its nuclear wappens whilk present the maist muckle democratic deficit o aw. The Scottish First Meenister thegither wi the owerwhelmin majority o the Scottish Pairlament, Scottish MPs, an the Scottish public, strangly oppose immoral wappens o nuclear destruction. Despite this, the UK’s nuclear wappens are based richt ootside oor mucklest an maist densely populatit ceety, an the people o Scotland hae tae send a muckle amoont o siller tae Lunnon tae pey fur thaim ilka year anaw.
The UK boycottit the UN warkin group whaes findins led tae lest year’s resolution, as weel as votin agin the final resolution. Scotland wasnae representit.
The UK also plans tae haud wide o the Ban Treaty conference this year. Scotland willnae be representit. (Fur the raicort, there’s a petition here cawin oan the UK Government tae participat)
“This is ane strang an glaurin exaimple o hoo whit Scotland can achieve oan the global stage will bide sairly stentit sae lang as we’re thirlt tae a UK whaes international objectives aften couldnae be mair sindry fae oor ain.”
But jist think whit we cuid achieve, oan nuclear wappens an oan mony ither things forby, gin we were a free-staunin kintra?
Thou Scotland willnae be offeecially representit as a free-staunin kintra at the UN negotiations this year, we’ll be weel representit in speerit by SNP MSP Bill Kidd, Co-President o Pairliamentarians fur Nuclear Non-Proliferation an Disarmament (PNND) an Chief Scottish Government Whip forby, whae will be attendin as pairt o an NGO (the anely option jist noo fur Scottish pairliamentarians participatin at an international level) thegither wi a hantle o ither Scottish activists an pairliamentarians, sic as Janet Fenton o Scottish CND an the Women’s International League fur Peace and Freedom.
Ah fur ane hope wi aw ma hert that they, oan behauf o Scotland, will be present tae witness eneuch ither kintras staun up an be coontit, an tak the warld a muckle stend forrit taeward freein the warld o nuclear wappens.
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