Historic Vote at UN for Nuclear Weapon Ban

trident-protest-001AT 11pm tonight the First Committee of United Nations voted to put into place a conference in 2017 that will negotiate a Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, which like the Land Mine and Cluster Munition Ban Treaties will start the process of prohibiting and eliminating these most destructive of weapons of mass destruction.

Despite the global desire to prohibit nuclear weapons, The International Campaign for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons has struggled with and now overcome the resistance of the Nuclear Armed states including the UK government to taking this very necessary first step.

This historic vote has been opposed in every way by the nuclear-armed states like the UK, and their dependents like the NATO states. They have boycotted the discussions and pressurised the smaller states through their control of development resources or by utilising the time differences to make communication between diplomats in New York and governments in the southern hemisphere extremely difficult.

Our Scottish government and parliament are in favour of the ban treaty, but UK diplomat Matt Rowland insisted that the UK has a democratic mandate to pursue foreign policy based on the nuclear weapons at Faslane.

Bill Kidd, MSP and Co-President of the International Organisation, Parliamentarians for Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament tonight said:

“This result at the UN in New York is a very powerful symbol of the feelings of people the world over that nuclear weapons aren’t needed and aren’t wanted. Only the arrogance of politicians in the Nuclear Weapons States stands in the way of a world without these weapons of mass-murder where real international security can be built.”

The importance of the change a nuclear weapons ban treaty will have for UK defence strategy and global politics cannot be overstated. ICAN campaigners in Scotland and the rest of the UK have sent advance notices to mainstream news media and to the BBC news and the result of the vote will be made available to them as soon as it happens, so hopefully it will be widely reported.

The strong support for our open letter to Boris Johnson, and the similar letter sent by ICAN in London from UK peace organisations, will have gone some way to ensure that the UK Government is aware that the eyes of the world are upon them, and that their decisions do not have the support that UK Ambassador Matt Rowling suggested it had when he claimed that only the foolhardy who do not understand global security issues would support a ban. Likewise, the people of Scotland do not agree that the UK has made a democratic decision to renew Trident.

Brexit is not the only aspect of UK Foreign policy that puts Scotland in democratic deficit in the global community as well as at home. In addition, there are many who consider that Scotland with its distinct legal system has rights and responsibilities under international humanitarian law to insist that nuclear weapons are removed from the country.

“Brexit is not the only aspect of UK Foreign policy that puts Scotland in democratic deficit in the global community as well as at home. In addition, there are many who consider that Scotland with its distinct legal system has rights and responsibilities under international humanitarian law to insist that nuclear weapons are removed from the country.”

Further, the European Union’s legislature announced its recommendation that the EU’s Member States should “support the convening” and “participate substantively” in its negotiation. While their governments at home, together with the world’s nuclear-armed states, are almost the only countries globally to oppose a ban treaty, the people’s representatives in the European Parliament took a view that much closer mirrors what surveys have been showing for a long time: we reject nuclear weapons, and will not want to entrust our “security” to a so-called deterrence gamble that has failed far too often to guarantee 100% reliability.

The Conference that the resolution has agreed will be convened over 22 days in 2017 and consider the necessary legal instruments. Scotland, along with many others will have their part to play in the work to be done.

Comments (13)

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  1. J Galt says:

    I can just see the Russians giving up their only guarantee of not being trampled underfoot – that was Gaddafi’s big mistake – he should have got himself a nuclear bomb, that would have made the Bastards think twice!

  2. bringiton says:

    If this ever gets agreed,expect England’s Tories to withdraw from the UN.
    No doubt HM press will now be going full out on the threat of Russian nuclear weapons etc etc.

    1. David McCann says:

      They have already started. Last week the MSM made great play about Russian warships sailing through the English Channel, something they had every right to do, as the seaway is in international waters.

  3. Thrawn says:

    Nuclear weapons technology exists and cannot un-exist…we all have to live with that fact. Voting for unenforceable bans may give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside but it doesn’t make you or anyone any safer. In fact I would argue that any comprehensive ban would make the world alot more dangerous:

    1. In a nuclear free world the temptation for any ambititous dictator to develop one and use it to blackmail the world would exponentially increase
    2. In a nuclear free world conventional wars would be alot more common – if a shooting war cannot develop into an existential risk for the aggressor whats the risk? Do you think China would hold back over the South Pratly’s if Japan wasn’t nuclear backed or that Russia wouldn’t annex the Baltics if they weren’t in NATO or that India and Pakistan would be fighting over Kashmir if they weren’t both nuclear armed

    1. simon c says:

      think you’ll find that they have plenty of choices as to how to destroy us – nuclear is so dirty don’t you think and harmful to the planet

  4. Roger says:

    Yeah I’ve never understood
    The logic behind banning weapons that kill indiscriminately
    Yet we keep building our nuclear arsenal

  5. Janet Fenton says:

    If a ban treaty wasn’t likely to have an effect, the NW states would not put such time and effort into attempting to prevent it.
    At least India, China and Pakistan recognise that its worth being in the discussion.
    A ban treaty is a first step – it is not enforceable, it is something people agree to. Like land mine bans, cluster munition bans and chemical weapons bans it de legitimises the idea of their existence. That starts the process of changing a political asset into a moral and logistical liability.
    A world with a ban that the majority have signed up (including storage, development, fissile material, transport, financing etc) to would be a very hard place for a dictator to ‘develop a nuclear weapon’ even if (s)he was a self sufficient nuclear physicist.
    ‘Russia’ or at least the Government of Russia, is one of the signatories to the NPT, and like the others have some idea that deliberate use is suicidal.
    In a nuclear weapons free world we might be a bit less suspicious, and we would have some presently unavailable resources, the arms trade wouldn’t have quite the present hold over governments so we could all calm down a bit and start looking at more effective and less suicidal ideas about how to resolve political difference.
    Bottom line is that the majority world want this. We are in a bad place in the UK for hearing the good news, don’t you think. I’ve been quite busy the last couple of weeks, I’m focussing on grandchildren over the next one!

    1. Thrawn says:

      “If a ban treaty wasn’t likely to have an effect, the NW states would not put such time and effort into attempting to prevent it.”

      Having a UN ambassador and a few civil servants argue in the UN is not exactly alot of effort…and I would argue that the effort they did put in was to try and stop the UN becoming a pointless talking shop, passing unworkeable unenforcable treaties that just devalue it.

      “Like land mine bans, cluster munition bans and chemical weapons bans it de legitimises the idea of their existence. That starts the process of changing a political asset into a moral and logistical liability.”

      They are only a liability if the moral cost of thier use outweighs the political benefits – so bans haven’t stopped chemical weapon use in Iraq, Syria and Libya recently….or the laying of millions of land mines by South Korea in the DMZ to stop 1.5 million North Korean soliders marching the 15 miles into Seoul.

      “A world with a ban that the majority have signed up (including storage, development, fissile material, transport, financing etc) to would be a very hard place for a dictator to ‘develop a nuclear weapon’ even if (s)he was a self sufficient nuclear physicist.”

      Well we already have a ban actually…the NPT which attempts to stop new countries getting nuclear weapons and which the nuclear powers have a massive incentive to enforce. And even it didn’t work out very well given that since its signature China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and nearly Iran and North Korea have disregarded it – the last two in the face of intensive monitoring, preemptive bombing campaigns, electronic warfare and crippling sanctions. If we can’t stop North Korea developing a bomb I don’t know how you think we could stop anyone else

      “In a nuclear weapons free world we might be a bit less suspicious, and we would have some presently unavailable resources, the arms trade wouldn’t have quite the present hold over governments so we could all calm down a bit and start looking at more effective and less suicidal ideas about how to resolve political difference.”

      No we would be incredibly more suspicous as we would all be paranoid that every country was developing muclear weapons to get an advantage. We would also be alot less calm and more prone to hot wars…minor disputes would have no limit to their escalation. For example…when Turkey shot down a Russian plane…the reluctance of the Russians to retaliate wasn’t down to slavic stoicism but more a cold rational calculation that any escalation with a NATO member could get out of hand badly. Similarly in the terrotiral disputes in the South China Sea, China is using all the legal and prolitical means possible right now to get what it wants (access to large oil and gas reserves). In a nuclear -free world you really don’t think it would just use its vast army and navy and take what it wants from a currently Nuclear backed Japan

      “Bottom line is that the majority world want this.”

      If you polled them I’m sure you would also find the the majority of the world do not believe in equality of sexes and believe homosexuality is an abomination…so forgive me if I find this argument completely pointless.

    2. J Galt says:

      With all due respect in what sense have land mines, cluster munitions and chemical weapons been “Banned”?

      I would wager that the world’s number one aggressor the USA is armed to teeth with all three!

      1. Janet Fenton says:

        Article 36

        1. J Galt says:

          Meaningless in the real World.

  6. c rober says:

    M.A.D , working so far , but ironically it only takes one MAD one to upset the applecart.

    America has feared the invasion of the Brits until WWII , and has millions of “wall jumpers” to the south should they become pally , aka Cuban Style , with the russians would make it very nervous. The only reason why they even like Europe is as a European defence shield , in order for America to partially survive at its expense , because the russians found out the Star Wars laser shoot down system wouldnt work as expected – ie not at all.

    The tiny Island that is England and its extremities punches above its weight due to Trident , costing billions , as austerity continues. And makes money , big money , for America. Due to that it is kept in the seat at the tables , its sure as hell not because of the size and might of its army and navy – but a tenth of its size compared to 20 years ago. Actually at this rate of military decline it may only surpass Moldava in the EU it is leaving soon enough – so hardly any reason for a “nuke free” world.

    China – In the last 20 years has been building a nuke sub every 4 years , docks and bases at an unheard of rate. Something that may also validate the Russian fear , in that it isnt just anti EU or USA in its need for a deterrent. And in the Same the reason for China building up its war machine , looking at history against it , land grabs , NK , India and Russia on its doorstep.

    I would love to live in a world free of Nukes , no doubt many of the countries and its population feel the same , but the military complex and its leaders would only go towards things like neutron , emp , bacterial , viral and disease based counter measures to replace them , and as a result be more inclined to use them.

    One only needs to look at Syria , which no doubt Putin will sell nukes or use as a reverse nuke missle sheild of Russias own in return , creating a might in the middle east- it is ideally placed to counter , as is the Crimea. Ironically this is the same thing that Saddam , Egypt et al were worried about – and committed their conventional atrocities on. So what is the option there then , Nato arming up the natives to counter the counter? Then hoping the regime isnt a mad dog again?

  7. Jo says:

    I find myself unable to take the UN seriously on much these days, especially over the almighty mess in Syria. Everything that’s happening there involving the US and the UK and France is all being done without UN authority and with no legal mandate. It seems to me they will do their own thing anyway despite what the UN wants. Just as in Iraq when we invaded that country.

    These days I see the UN as having no teeth, no authority and no real purpose. It was created in order to maintain the peace…………..how has that gone then? Not well. Then again, maybe it never had any teeth in the first place. Maybe it was always meant to be that the bullies still did as they wanted to other countries without having any authority to do those things.

    On Aleppo I’ve been reading for some time about IS there holding civilians hostage, using them as shields. Yet I didn’t see those reports in the MSM. All the MSM reported was that Assad and Russia were killing civilians. No reports that IS and the rebels (often associated with IS and whom WE and the US funded and armed) weren’t letting civilians leave, not even during the ceasefires. No reports from the UN on these things either when it came to Aleppo.

    In contrast, when it came to Mosul the MSM has been only too happy to report that IS there are holding civilians hostage and using them as shields. If they can report this is happening in Mosul, why not in Aleppo too?

    And just listen to Clinton! She’s already declared, in the final debate, “I will defeat ISIS!” She’s already declared she will impose a no-fly zone over Syria if she gets elected, again, all without any input from the UN. And the UK trots behind just as they did with Bush when this whole mess started, despite the implications of Clinton’s statement which, essentially, was a declaration of war against Russia. The US, France and the UK don’t give a monkey’s for the civilians of Syria. They’re there for one reason and one reason only: regime change. Nothing else. That’s there chief priority which is why we’re making no headway against IS. They’re there to topple Assad. They are hypocrites.

    Looking out now there is little reason for optimism and I can’t find much in this report either I’m afraid. The UN is a great big useless organisation that has no authority at all when it comes to the big boys. I used to take comfort from the fact that the UN existed. I find no such comfort now that I know how it all works. It doesn’t work at all.

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