Archbishop calls for end to ‘scourge’ of nuclear weapons

Archbishop ChullikattOn 10 July, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Vatican’s ambassador to the United Nations, delivered a rousing speech at the Catholic Center of the Diocese of Kansas City, condemning nuclear weapons. Archbishop Francis Chullikatt argued that nuclear weapons have “threatened humanity” for far too long and the world’s leaders lack the political will to remove “this scourge.” The speech was particularly significant as it provided an explanation for the church’s controversial opposition to a new nuclear weapons facility in Kansas which could bring $1 billion dollars into the community.

Archbishop Chullikatt noted that, as development needs across the globe are outpacing the resources being devoted to them, the expense of building nuclear arsenals is “nothing short of sinful” and the “grossest misplacement of priorities.”

Archbishop Chullikatt said nuclear weapons have been “aptly described as the ‘ultimate evil’, “and are still possessed by the most powerful countries that “refuse to let them go.” “If biological weapons, chemical weapons, and now landmines can be done away with, so too can nuclear weapons,” he stressed, adding that no weapon threatens modern peace more than nuclear weapons.

»Read full address

Hacia la abolición de las armas nucleares

Durante años, básicamente la segunda mitad del Siglo XX, todas las preocupaciones en materia de armamentismo se centraron en las armas nucleares. Documentos, propuestas, iniciativas y campañas varias reclamaban un mayor control o un progresivo desarme de este tipo de armas. Un esfuerzo, cabe decir, saldado con poco éxito: un Tratado de No-Proliferación Nuclear (TNP) poco ambicioso en sus inicios e irresponsablemente gestionado por parte de las potencias nucleares.

» Read article by Jordi Armadans Director de la Fundació per la Pau

MPI calls for a global ban on nuclear weapons

The Middle Powers Initiative (MPI), a coalition of eight international disarmament organizations, is calling on governments to “begin collective preparatory work leading to the enactment of a universal, verifiable, irreversible and enforceable legal ban on nuclear weapons.” MPI Chair Richard Butler, founder Douglas Roche and Executive Committee Member Alyn Ware have embarked on a series of consultations with governments at the United Nations and in capitals around the world on a draft brief exploring the modalities for such preparatory work.

The brief is stimulated by the agreement at the 2010 NPT Review Conference that “All States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons” noting “the Five-Point Proposal for Nuclear Disarmament of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, which proposes inter alia the consideration of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or a framework of separate mutually reinforcing instruments.” The tour of capitals by the MPI team over the next month will take in Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Delhi, London, Moscow, Oslo, Stockholm and Washington.

The MPI brief also notes the affirmation by the 2010 NPT Review Conference of the application of International Humanitarian Law to nuclear weapons. “Landmines and cluster munitions were banned by treaty once people realized the humanitarian consequences of their continued use,” said Senator Roche. “There is now a similar realization of the threat to humanity, not just if nuclear weapons are used but by the threat of use, their possession and their proliferation… This is a moment for enlightened leaders to start convening meetings to draw together those who want to build a global law banning all nuclear weapons.”

Florence, Italy, joins call for abolition treaty

The Provincial Council of Florence in Italy has expressed its support for ICAN’s mission to achieve a nuclear weapons convention.

The discussion that brought to the adoption of the official support, highlighted how the end of the cold war was a missed opportunity for the world to get rid of nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, considering Obama’s speech in Prague in 2009 – when the US president underlined the moral responsibility of the United States as the only country who used the nuclear weapon – and the good will shown by the 2011 START II treaty ratification, the provincial council of Florence decided to join the ICAN and Senzatomica ( plead of a Nuclear Free world.

Finally, the Council called on the members of the General Assembly to make whichever possible to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention, and urges the President of the Provincial Council of Florence to advocate at Italian Foreign Ministry to reach this historic goal.

Read the statement (in Italian)

Article from ICAN homepage, written by Daniela Varano

June 25 is Nuclear Abolition Day

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear WeaponsWhat is Nuclear Abolition Day?

Nuclear Abolition Day is an annual global day of action for a treaty to outlaw and eliminate all nuclear weapons. It is coordinated by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. The date changes from year to year depending on significant events. The first global day of action was held on 5 June 2010 in response to the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, which had just concluded.

Why is this year’s day of action 25 June?

At last year’s Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, the five original nuclear weapon states – the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China – agreed to “accelerate concrete progress on … steps leading to nuclear disarmament”. The leaders of these five nations will meet in Paris on 29 and 30 June to discuss nuclear security as a follow-up to the Review Conference. June 25 is our opportunity to send them, and all other governments, a loud and clear message: it is time to begin work on a treaty to outlaw and eliminate all nuclear weapons.

What kinds of actions will take place?

On the 2010 global day of action, more than 80 actions took place in 30 countries. These included street demonstrations, benefit gigs, nuclear-free picnics, vigils, marches and education workshops. We encourage people to be as creative as possible. All actions must be non-violent. The aim is to raise public awareness about nuclear dangers and build political support for negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons completely. This year we will also focus on online actions to promote abolition, such as tweeting.

Read more about Nuclear Abolition Day and ideas for action at

Norwegians call for abolition

ICAN Norway this month held a debate with the country’s leading young politicians. All but one of the panelists agreed that Norway should start negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons completely. More than 150 people attended the event.

ICAN Norway was launched last October by No to Nuclear Weapons, Norwegian Physicians against Nuclear Weapons and the Norwegian Pugwash committee. Together these organizations are working to create a wide network of humanitarian and other non-profit groups to build support for a nuclear weapons convention.

ICAN Norway is a national and politically independent campaign that seeks to unite all individuals and organizations that support the campaign’s purpose. It promotes initiatives aimed at raising awareness among politicians, trade unions, non-government organisations and the wider public.

History has shown the need to regulate and prohibit the use of weapons that cause unnecessary suffering. ICAN will build on lessons learned from similar campaigns against anti-personnel land mines and cluster munitions, where national and international NGOs contributed significantly to the establishment of binding agreements and where the Norwegian government played a key role.

Nuclear weapons not only represent a threat in the form of the potential horrors and destruction inherent in their use. By virtue of their very existence, nuclear weapons are also directly and indirectly contributing to political instability in the world. ICAN Norway will no longer accept this reality. We demand action now!

Visit the ICAN Norway website

Video of ICAN campaigners in Bergen (in Norwegian)

This article was from the news section of the ICAN website

Feminism and Disarmament

The gender perspective as a necessity to achieve a world without nuclear weapons

Dr. Rebecca Johnson, Acronym Institute

Dr. Rebecca Johnson, Acronym Institute

In October 2010 Ursula Gelis talked to Dr. Rebecca Johnson, a scientist from the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy in London/UK, when she was in Oslo to launch the Norwegian ICAN campaign to free the world of all nuclear weapons.

This interview is not about the behavior and debates of politicians but about grassroots activism, especially that of women who realise their visions through determined commitment and actions.

Read interview on ICAN website

Nuclear Abolition Forum

Nuclear Abolition Forum – Dialogue on the Process to Achieve and Sustain a Nuclear Weapons Free World

Nuclear Abolition Forum LogoA number of leading institutes and non-governmental organizations have recently established the Nuclear Abolition Forum – a periodical and website for dialogue between academics, governments, disarmament experts and NGOs on key issues regarding the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons under a Nuclear Weapons Convention or package of agreements, and the process to achieve this.

The Forum website, to be launched in May 2011, will include a database of existing articles and documents on the range of issues surrounding a nuclear weapons conventions, as well as opportunities for comment and the periodical which will focus on specific issues or elements (technical, legal, institutional and political) for achieving and maintaining a nuclear-weapons-free world.

The Forum will seek to include a variety of perspectives rather than advocating any particular approach to achieving a nuclear-weapons-free world. This could include contributions from those who have put forward specific proposals, as well as from those who do not yet believe that nuclear abolition is possible, or who are not yet convinced of the merits of a comprehensive approach. Attention would however be given to examining and critiquing the framework for achieving and sustaining a nuclear-weapons-free world rather than focusing solely or primarily on the next immediate steps.

For more information contact: Rob van Riet, Director, Nuclear Abolition Forum, World Future Council, 100 Pall Mall, St. James, London SW1Y 5NQ, United Kingdom. Tel.: +44 (0) 20 7321 3810 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7321 3738.

MPI drafts UN resolution to implement Ban Ki-moon’s Five-Point-Proposal

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-MoonThe Middle Powers Initiative (MPI) established in 1998 by a group of eight leading international NGOs, has proposed a draft United Nations resolution to implement the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Five-Point-Proposal for Nuclear Disarmament. The resolution calls on the Secretary-General “to convene a Preparatory Conference of all States, in the first half of 2012, to discuss the procedures which may be employed to establish the agenda and modalities of a Diplomatic Conference on Nuclear Disarmament to begin meeting in 2014, to reach agreement on the texts of a convention or a framework of separate, mutually reinforcing instruments, open to accession by all States, providing for universal, verifiable, and irreversible nuclear disarmament;”

MPI is consulting with key governments on the proposal with the aim of building sufficient support for it to be introduced at the UN General Assembly in October this year.

For further information contact Alyn Ware.

Discussions continue on nuclear disarmament at CD

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) met on Thursday morning to discuss agenda items 1 and 2, with a particular focus on nuclear disarmament. Statements were made by the delegations of Chile, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Belgium, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, the United Kingdom (UK), Algeria, the United States (US), Japan, and the Russian Federation.

CD president Oyarce from Chile invited delegations to make detailed comments on measures for nuclear disarmament and asked member states to give their views on either a complete programme of nuclear disarmament such as a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC), or a step-by-step approach.  The delegations of DPRK, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, and Algeria stated that nuclear disarmament is their main priority and called for the CD to establish an ad hoc committee on this topic.  Ambassador Kennedy of the US argued that progress on nuclear disarmament takes time and highlighted that the US administration plans to address deployed and non-deployed, strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons within a year.  While emphasizing that the US supports the step-by-step approach “rigorously”, Ambassador Kennedy announced that she was interested to hear discussions of a NWC, how would it be verified, and how would it deal with compliance.

Read more on Reaching Critical Will homepage