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Home Articles Flashpoints Re: International Commission On Nuclear Nonproliferation And Disarmament

Re: International Commission On Nuclear Nonproliferation And Disarmament

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Gareth Evans, Chair, International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament ,
Yoriko Kawaguchi, Co- Chair,
Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister Australia
Steven Smith Foreign Minister, Australia


Dear Gareth Evans, Yoroiko Kawaguchi, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Foreign Minister Steven Smith:

This letter comes to you from NGOs and peace groups from Australia and worldwide.

We would like to congratulate you on  the initiative for an International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament. The choice of former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, both in view of his involvement in the 1996 Canberra Commission and in view of his vital work for a number of years as head of the International Crisis Group, is, we believe, appropriate.  In particular it establishes the continuity of the Commission with the landmark 1996 Canberra Commission.

The Commission will have to deal with a number of issues that should be flagged here, at as early a stage as possible.

1)    Nuclear Weapons Operational Readiness

One of the key recommendations of the 1996 Canberra Commission was that, as an initial first step toward the elimination of nuclear weapons and as a vital confidence – building measure, as well as an utterly vital interim safety measure, the roughly 5000 nuclear weapons held by the US and Russia that are even now kept on Launch-on-Warning status,  be removed from that status.

This recommendation was repeated by the Blix Commission in 2006, (Recommendation 17), was the subject of the appeal signed by the 44 Nobels co-coordinated by the author of this letter, and was the subject of  the General Assembly Resolution (GA62/36) to which that appeal led, sponsored by the Governments of New Zealand, Nigeria, Sweden, Switzerland, and Chile. That resolution passed 139-3, and though Australia abstained on it last October 2007, it is to be hoped that we will support it fully this time.

Nuclear Weapons Operational Readiness is an issue to which the new Commission should address itself as a matter of priority.  It is also an issue on which the Australian government should lave a clear stance.  The removal of strategic nuclear weapons systems from high – alert status is arguably the single step that would do most to make an accidental apocalypse less likely.

2)    Nuclear Weapons Convention

Another vital issue to which the Australian Government, and the new Commission, should address itself is that of a nuclear weapons convention.

Labor Party policy as articulated prior to the election was in favour of a Nuclear Weapons Convention. We were overjoyed to hear in the NPT Preparatory Committee meeting this May, Australia’s ambassador Caroline Millar suggest that Australia might now support a Nuclear Weapons Convention and to hear her actually use that term.

A detailed model  Nuclear Weapons Convention was submitted by Malaysia and Costa - Rica  to the UN General Assembly initially in 1996, and an updated and revised version of the complex inter locking framework that is a nuclear weapons convention was submitted by the same governments in 2007.

The Commission needs to look closely at the model nuclear weapons convention which now has the support of a large part of the General Assembly. We urge the Australian Government to give its support to the resolution that goes through the General Assembly First Committee on that subject annually.

3) Other Important Issues

Other important issues that urgently require the attention of the Commission and of the Australian Government  include:

--The negotiation of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty
--The ratification of the CTBT  by a number of crucial countries, and a mechanism to bring that treaty into force.
--Negative security assurances from nuclear weapon – states to non- nuclear – weapons states
--No – First – Use assurances by nuclear weapons states
--Mechanisms to bring an end to missile and nuclear – weapon arms – racing on the Indian subcontinent.
--The creation of a stable strategic framework between Iran, Israel and the US that will allow Iran not to develop nuclear weapons.
--The creation of a nuclear – weapons – free Middle East.

These are items of greater or lesser difficulty, but the Commission will have to wrestle with all of them.

4) Support for IRENA and non-nuclear alternatives

A final issue with which the Commission may or may not deal directly but which nonetheless impacts on its deliberations,  will be that of the relationship between Civil and military nuclear technology. We would urge the commission and the Rudd Government, to give its strong support to the German government’s recent initiative for an International Renewal Energy Agency (IRENA), see <http://www.irena.org/>  and to participate in its planning meeting this summer and proposed launch this fall.

Strong Support for International Nonproliferation and Disarmament Commission

We strongly commend the formation of this International Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament Commission. 

As a middle power, Australia can play a vital and influential role in ridding the world of the single technology that can,  in Arundhati Roy’s words, bring about ‘the end of the world in an afternoon’, and that constitutes the greatest short/medium – term threat to civilisation and living things.

Nuclear Nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament are inextricably intertwined and progress on both fronts is required, not a one-sided emphasis on one or the other.

We strongly wish the Commission success. We would like to be included in further discussions of its proposed activities and stand ready to assist with its activities.


(Australian Groups)

John Hallam (Letter Coordinator)
(Joint coordinator of the Appeal from 44 Nobels on Nuclear Weapons Operating Status)

Angela Drury, People for Nuclear Disarmament NSW, Surry Hills NSW,

Professor Kevin P Clements, Foundation Director Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland,.

Bruce Childs and Rev. Claude Mostowik, Convenors, Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition,

Nick Deane,Jo Blackman,  Marrickville Peace Group, NSW, Australia

Irene Gale, Australian Peace Committee, Adelaide, SA

Jo Vallentine (fmrSenator) People for Nuclear Disarmament W.A.,

Pauline Mitchell, Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament (CICD) Melb, Vic,

Dave Muller, South Movement, Melb, Vic,

Peter Weitzel, President, Australia-Cuba Friendship Society, Sydney, Aust,

Rev. Terence Corkin, General Secretary, National Assembly Uniting Church in Australia

John Sutton, Secy, CFMEU,

Bronwyn Marks, Chair, Hiroshima Day Committee,  Sydney.

Helen Caldicott, Nuclear Policy Research Institute Australia,

Kath Wray, Citizens Wildlife Corridors Armidale

Deb Foskey MLA, Greens, Canb Legislative Assembly, 

Lee Rhiannon MLC, Greens, NSW Legislative Council,

Ian Cohen MLC, Greens, NSW Legislative Council,

(Overseas Groups)

Steven Leeper, Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, Hiroshima, Japan,

Alfred L. Marder, President, International Association of Peace Messenger Cities,

Aaron Tovish, Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign, 

Colin Archer, Secy – General, International Peace Bureau, Geneva,

Prof. Kevin P. Clements, Secretary  General of the International Peace Research Association

Hideyuki Ban, Co-Director, Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (CNIC) (Tokyo, Japan)

Hiro Umebayashi, Peace Depot, Yokohama, Japan,

Yayoi Tsuchida, Asst Genl Secy,  Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo)

Hidemichi Kano Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs  (GENSUIKIN)

Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, NY, NY USA,

Doug Mattern, President, Association of World Citizens, San Francisco, Calif, USA,

David Hartsough, Executive Director, PEACEWORKERS, San Francisco, CA  USA,

Prof (emeritus) Marc Pilisuk, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Calif,

Diane Perlman, Psycologists for Social Responsibility, TRANSCEND.

Alfred L. Marder, President, International Association of Peace Messenger Cities

David Krieger, President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Santa Barbara, Calif, USA.

Linda Richards, Convener , Atomicvigil.net,

Linda Richards, Ashland Oregon Hiroshima Nagasaki Commemoration, Corvallis Oregon USA

Chuck Baynton, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice,

Diane C. Beeny, Union County NJ Peace Council,

David Culp, Friends Committee on National Legislation, (Quakers),

Bobbie Paul, Executive Director, Atlanta WAND (Womans Action for New Directions)

Dr. Kathleen Sullivan, Education Consultant, UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, New York,

Joanna Santa Barbara, Physicians for Global Survival Canada,

Gordon Edwards PhD, President, CCNR (Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility)

Judith Deutsch, President.  Science for Peace, Canada.

Susan Stout, WILPF Canada, 

Abraham Weizfeld, Co-Founder, Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians,

Mrs. Eryl Court, Member of Council of Advisors, Unitarian-Universalist U.N. Office; Executive member, Canadian Peace Research and Education Association,

Patricia Willis, Denman Island Peace Group (CANADA)

Elsie Dean, For Board of Directors World Peace Forum
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Kate Hudson, Chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), London, UK.,

Jenny Maxwell (Chair, West Midlands CND)

Paul Ingram, Executive Director,  BASIC, (British – American Security Information Council)  UK,

George Paxton, Editor, The Gandhi Way,

George Farebrother, Secretary, World Court Project UK,

Peter Nicholls, Chair, Abolition 2000 UK, United Kingdom,

Frank Boulton, Chair, MEDACT, UK,

Frank Cook MP, Stockton North, House of Commons,

David Chaytor MP, House of Commons, 

Jeremy Corbyn MP, House of Commons,

Sergey Kolesnikov, Member of Russian Parliament, Co-President of IPPNW,

Ak Malten, Global Anti Nuclear Alliance, Netherlands,

Prof. Andreas Nidecker, IPPNW Switzerland, 

Lisa Clark, Beati i costruttori di pace / Italian Disarmament Network

Luisa Morgantini MEP, European Parliament,

Uta Zapf, MP, Bundestag, Germany,

Jean-Marie Matagne, Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire(ACDN) Fr ,

Pierre Villard, Co-President, Mouvement DeLa Paix,

Pierre Villard, Coordinator, Campagne pour le Désarmament Nucléaire (57 organisations)

Dominique Lalanne, chair,  Abolition of Nuclear Weapons/Stop Essais

Dr Herman Spanjaard, President, IPPNW Netherlands,

Dr. Angelika Claußen, Chairperson,  International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Physicians in Social Responsibility (IPPNW-Germany)

Dr Ron McCoy, Member of the 1995 Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, IPPNW Malaysia,

Dr Kate Dewes and Commander Robert Green, Royal Navy (Ret'd), Coordinators, Disarmament & Security Centre, PO Box 8390, Christchurch, New Zealand’

Gerald O’Brien, Peace Council of Aotearoa,

Simon Reeves, President, Alyn Ware, Director, Aotearoa Lawyers for Peace,

Barney Richards, President, Peace Council Aotearoa NZ

Matt Robson, Aotearoa Lawyers for Peace, fmr New Zealand Minister for Disarmament,

Gordon F. Copeland, Independent MP, New Zealand,

Luis Gutiérrez Esparza,  President,  Círculo Latinoamericano de Estudios Internacionales (CLAEI) / Latin American Circle for International Studies (LACIS) - Mexico City (Mexico)

Paul Saoke Executive Director Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR)-Kenya

Sukla Sen, Editor, Peace Now (Magazine of Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace), Mumbai, India,

SP Udayakumar, Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy, Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu S. India,

Ali Al-Lami, Enivronmental Expert, Baghdad, Iraq,

Last Updated on Friday, 20 March 2015 06:58