IMMEDIATE USE 23 MAR 2017
PEOPLE FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
HUMAN SURVIVAL PROJECT
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT MUST DO U-TURN ON NUKE WEAPONS POLICY
UN MEETING TO ELIMINATE NUCLEAR WEAPONS 27-31 MARCH, 15 JUNE-7JULY 2017
The Australian Government has been urged to do an immediate U-turn on its policy on nuclear weapons.
Starting Monday in New York at the UN, a negotiating process to produce a 'legally binding instrument' to make nuclear weapons illegal is taking place. Initial meetings happen 27-31 March and 15June-7July at UN headquarters in New York. The process was set up by a General Assembly vote supported by 123 governments.
In an unprecedented move, Australia, considered by some to be a leader in nuclear disarmament is boycotting these meetings.
People for Nuclear Disarmament and the Human Survival Project are urging them to do a U-turn and to support and constructively participate in, the process to make nuclear weapons illegal.
According to PND and Human Survival Project's UN nuclear weapons campaigner John Hallam, who will be attending UN meetings in Vienna in May and the New York 15June-7July meeting,
“Australia is on the wrong side of history in boycotting this negotiating process for an instruments that leads, ultimately, to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Indeed, the nuclear weapon states themselves are on the wrong side of history in opposing it and in encouraging others – such as Australia – to do so. They too would find it in their interests to take part in this negotiating process.”
“ Australia argues that the creation of a multilateral treaty that makes nuclear weapons illegal, which is almost certainly what will emerge from this process, will not help to advance the world toward the elimination of nuclear weapons, and may undermine the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT). This is absolute nonsense, and one wonders if even those who mouth these arguments truly believe them, so lacking are they in credibility.”
“Article VI of the NPT clearly obliges governments – and not merely the nuclear weapon states, but all governments – to engage in a negotiating process whose end point is the total and unequivocal elimination of all nuclear arsenals. What will undermine the NPT is not engagement in a process to eliminate nuclear weapons, but Australia's failure – indeed, refusal – to engage in that process.”
“Finally, our failure to to engage in the elimination of nuclear weapons not only does not enhance our security in any way, but undermines that also. If we fail to eliminate nuclear weapons, the risk that they will be used in large numbers will continue to grow and eventually what we call 'civilisation' (and much else besides) will simply perish, probably taking Pine Gap and possibly a number of Australia's larger cities with it. The 'end of the world' can hardly be in Australia's security interest. Rather it is the sort of event we should be trying to prevent.”
“Australia must turn around its nuclear disarmament strategy immediately, and engage in the New York negotiations as if the fate of civilisation and of humans as a species depends on it. Because it does.”
The Australian Institute of International Affairs is holding a meeting on the UN negotiations for a nuclear weapons ban this Tuesday at 6pm. (see announcement from AIIA below)