Talk Works

TalkWorks is an independent documentary film project to record and disseminate through the medium of film the thinking of leading experts and public figures across a range of disciplines who, alarmed by the serious dangers posed by the uncontrolled proliferation of nuclear weapons, are putting their weight behind the international effort to avert and ultimately eliminate global nuclear threats in the 21st century. The subjects of TalkWorks’ films are people in positions of influence from different walks of life and political persuasions who are now cooperating to promote a series of concrete steps towards the goal of ‘global zero’ nuclear weapons as laid out by President Obama in his historic Prague Speech of 5 April 2009.

» TalkWorks website

Video: Amsterdam against Nukes

On International Nuclear Abolition Day 2011 the No Nukes campaign team shot a movie in Amsterdam to illustrate that people from all nationalities and different walks of lives share the same wish: a world free of nuclear weapons: everybody against nukes!

Climate change and nuclear disarmament

On 17 May the World Future Council released its latest report entitled Climate Change, Nuclear Risks and Nuclear Disarmament: From Security Threats to Sustainable Peace. It is the outcome of groundbreaking research by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Scheffran of the University of Hamburg.

The report examines the linkages between nuclear and climate risks, noting that these two clear threats may interfere with each other in a mutually re-enforcing way.  It also acknowledges that finding solutions to one problem area could lead to solutions in the other: “Preventing the dangers of climate change and nuclear war requires an integrated set of strategies that address the causes as well as the impacts on the natural and social environment.” Prof. Dr. Scheffran offers an approach to move away from these security threats to building sustainable peace.

The study brings to light the multidimensional interplay between climate change, nuclear risks and nuclear disarmament, and its critical implications for the strategic security environment. In addition, it explores prospects and openings to tackle these key challenges, stressing the role played by institutions to “strengthen common ecological and human security, build and reinforce conflict-resolution mechanisms and low-carbon energy alternatives, and create sustainable life-cycles that respect the capabilities of the living world.”

RUSI Report: “If the Bombs Go”

Cover of RUSI reportThis Occasional Paper published by the British think-tank RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) draws together analyses of issues that might arise if US nuclear weapons were removed from Europe. The paper examines how NATO’s assurance and deterrence relationships might be altered.

The role of the remaining US non-strategic nuclear weapons stationed in Europe is likely to be considered during the current NATO Defence and Deterrence Posture Review (DDPR).  There have been several studies that focused on the possible effects that further withdrawals of these weapons might have on deterrence and arms control, and suggested a range of options for consideration by NATO. This report complements these and the ongoing debate by analysing the issues that could arise if the US nuclear weapons were removed.

The seven authors of these papers, from France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey and the UK, were commissioned by RUSI to examine these issues and to pay particular attention to the views of key officials and advisors in their own country or region.

Download the report here

New German Defence Policy Guidelines

Two days ago the new German Defence Minister, de Mazière, issued new Defence Policy Guidelines which are available in German, English and French. For EN and FR, scroll down the page http://www.bmvg.de/portal/a/bmvg/!ut/p/c4/RYwxD4IwEEb_UQuDkbhJSNTFwUVwIYVeysX2Sq5XWPzxwmD8XvKWl3z6pTfILOiMYCTjdau7EU_DqoawOJVwnIAnQElz9Cj4VkMmC2mFiRVBdpDEeMnkegvc_6N-7tcW1BgJZLcACW52bCSymiOL30tm3opCq7uibOqiLH4rP9Wlvd6b6nBsbvVDzyGcv8HrdL4!/

The 2006 White Paper is still in force and can be found in German, English and Russian at http://www.bmvg.de/portal/a/bmvg/!ut/p/c4/Fcw5EoAgDEDRG5HezlModiwZyAAJI9v1xfnNqz48sGMzKZhOwibDDdrRYZeyZQbVyEV8I1JvVTJ1SspwQCsdlZc0CvLWQmrNDhfh-n85gPYItZTzA4w7BLg!/

New Resource on Chernobyl

There is now an English version of Alla Yaroshinskaya’s new book on Chernobyl, including the dire aftermath still ongoing. Below is the link to the web site offering it.

 http://www.transactionpub.com/title/Chernobyl-978-1-4128-4296-9.html#edreviews

What NATO Countries really think about US nukes? New report: Withdrawal Issues available now!

Withdrawal Issues: What NATO countries say about the future of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe

What do NATO countries really say about the deployment of U.S. tactical (or sub-strategic or non-strategic) nuclear weapons? Many assumptions have been made, and repeated in countless reports by the media and experts over the last few years. However, Netherlands-based IKV Pax Christi set out to interview all 28 NATO delegations, as well as NATO staffers concerned with nuclear planning and deployment, to ask how they assessed the future of tactical nuclear weapons deployment in Europe. The result of these interviews is now available in the report: Withdrawal Issues: What NATO countries say about the future of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

The key findings of the report show that there is sufficient political will within NATO to end the deployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. Fourteen, or half of all NATO member states actively support the end of TNW deployment while ten other countries say they would not block a consensus decision to removed the weapons. Only three NATO members (France, Hungary and Lithuania) say they oppose an end to the TNW deployment, and only France has is willing to invest political capital to keep the weapons on the territory of Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Turkey.

Despite oft-repeated assumptions, there are no quick and easy formulae that accurately portray national positions. There is no clear relation between the duration of NATO membership and position on the TNW issue. The “new” NATO members are not more, or less, attached to the U.S. weapons than the “old” members. Likewise, proximity to Russia is no explanatory variable. Perhaps not so surprisingly, the more active countries are in nuclear sharing, the more vocal they are about wanting the weapons removed.

The process of deciding the future of TNW deployment is currently at an impasse. The Strategic Concept dictates that NATO first needs to “aim to seek” Russian agreement on reciprocal steps towards a TNW free Europe. But Russia refuses to talk about its TNW until the U.S. first relocates all its TNW back to the U.S.. To break the impasse needs careful planning by multiple actors in multiple arenas.

Withdrawal Issues: What NATO countries say about the future of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe examines the reasons NATO countries give to end the deployment, examines the challenges they bring up and recommends a series of steps to overcome these challenges.

The full report, Withdrawal Issues: What NATO countries say about the future of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe is available at www.NoNukes.nl.

Experts Declare Nuclear Weapons Contrary to International Humanitarian Law

Vancouver Declaration Affirms the Incompatibility of

Nuclear Weapons with International Humanitarian Law

Source: Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, www.lcnp.org, and The Simons Foundation, http://www.thesimonsfoundation.ca

For Immediate Release: March 23, 2011

Released today by The Simons Foundation and the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) and signed by eminent experts in international law and diplomacy, the Vancouver Declaration affirms that nuclear weapons are incompatible with international humanitarian law, the law stating what is universally prohibited in warfare. The declaration observes that with their uncontrollable blast, heat, and radiation effects, nuclear weapons are indeed weapons of mass destruction that by their nature cannot comply with fundamental rules forbidding the infliction of indiscriminate and disproportionate harm.

Entitled “Law’s Imperative for the Urgent Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World,” the declaration concludes by calling on states to commence and conclude negotiations on the global prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons as mandated by the legal obligation unanimously proclaimed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1996. An annex to the declaration specifying the applicable law states: “It cannot be lawful to continue indefinitely to possess weapons which are unlawful to use or threaten to use, are already banned for most states, and are subject to an obligation of elimination.”

The many signatories include Christopher G. Weeramantry, former Vice President of the ICJ and current President of IALANA; Mohammed Bedjaoui, who was ICJ President when it handed down its advisory opinion on nuclear weapons; Louise Doswald-Beck, Professor of International Law, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, and co-author of a major International Committee of the Red Cross study of international humanitarian law; Ved Nanda, Evans University Professor, Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law; Jayantha Dhanapala, former UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs; and Gareth Evans, QC, former Foreign Minister of Australia who recently served as Co-Chair of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.

The Simons Foundation and IALANA developed the declaration with the input of a conference convened by the two organizations in Vancouver, Canada, on February 10-11, 2011, that brought together some 30 experts in international law, diplomacy, and nuclear weapons.

Dr. Jennifer Simons, President of The Simons Foundation, said: “It is my hope, shared by IALANA, that in the debate about the road to zero, the Vancouver Declaration will serve to underline the essential element – the inhumanity and illegality of nuclear weapons – and hasten their elimination. The possession of nuclear weapons should be an international crime.”

Peter Weiss, IALANA Vice President, who has litigated international human rights cases in U.S. and other courts and advised governments on their submissions to the ICJ in the nuclear weapons case, commented: “Overwhelming problems, like ensuring the survival of the planet, cannot be resolved by law alone. But nor can they be dealt with by ignoring the law altogether. The drafters of the declaration, and those who have signed and will sign it, offer it to governments and civil society as a contribution to the debate. The horrific events occurring in Japan serve to accentuate the danger of continuing to live with the risk of exposing humanity to nuclear radiation, whether emanating from nuclear meltdown or nuclear bombs.”

Dr. John Burroughs, Executive Director of the New York-based Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, the UN Office of IALANA, said: “President Obama and Prime Minister Singh last year jointly stated their support for ‘strengthening the six decade-old international norm of non-use of nuclear weapons.’ The Vancouver Declaration demonstrates that the non-use of nuclear weapons is not only wise policy; it is required by law.”

The declaration and a list of initial signatories are online at http://www.lcnp.org and http://www.thesimonsfoundation.ca.

# # #

The Simons Foundation is a private charitable foundation committed to advancing positive change through education in peace, disarmament, international law and human security. Based in Vancouver, the Simons Foundation initiates and participates in major worldwide peace projects, convenes global leaders for high-level strategic and policy dialogues, sponsors important academic research through fellowships and chairs, acts as a major convenor of academic and public events and partners on policy-driven publications. For more information, visit http://www.thesimonsfoundation.ca.

The International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms works to prevent nuclear war, abolish nuclear weapons, strengthen international law and encourage the peaceful resolution of international conflicts. For more information, visit http://www.ialana.net and http://www.lcnp.org.

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.