“Stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks”
The Humanitarian Pledge offers one argument that could make Trident dead in the water that Labour, CND and the mainstream media are failing to use. Lesley Docksey asks why it is not being used, why attention is confined to the cost of replacement and what the money saved could be spent on.
“Norway hosted the First Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons (HINW) in March 2013 in Oslo. A follow-up second conference was held in Mexico in February 2014. An all-important third conference, held in Vienna in December 2014, out of which came the Humanitarian Pledge.
“By the start of the 2015 RevCon 159 non-nuclear states had signed up to the Pledge and the endorsing states numbered 76. 121 nations have now fully endorsed the Pledge. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a global campaign coalition launched in 2007 by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, reports that on 7 December 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Pledge in the form of Resolution 70/48. Of the 168 nations that cast a vote, 139 (83%) were in favour. The full voting result is available here”.
An extract from the pledge:
“Mindful of the unacceptable harm that victims of nuclear weapons explosions and nuclear testing have experienced and recognising that that the rights and needs of victims have not yet been adequately addressed . . . We call on all nuclear weapons possessor states to take concrete interim measures to reduce the risk of nuclear weapon detonations, including reducing the operational status of nuclear weapons and moving nuclear weapons away from deployment into storage, diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in military doctrines and rapid reductions of all types of nuclear weapons”.
Again Lesley asks why Labour and CND aren’t using the good reasons available to make their case:
“We have known for years that the military (excepting the Navy) think Trident is completely useless. We have known for years that the first of the new submarines, HMS Astute, was beset with problems and costing a fortune. We know it ran aground in familiar waters; that previous nuclear submarines had been involved in the sinking of fishing vessels; that a major nuclear incident involving the submarines at Devonport was only just averted in 2012. We knew that where two nuclear submarines out of four used to be at sea, it is now only one, and that the Navy is struggling to recruit enough submariners. This was highlighted again by the whistleblower McNeilly last year. He cast doubts on whether the nuclear missiles could be launched at all, so broken is the whole system.
“Last December the UN General Assembly voted to set up a new UN ‘working group’ which will start the process of writing a Treaty making all nuclear weapons illegal. They started work at the end of January. Civil society representatives will be assisting the working group. Has Labour thought of sending someone along? And why aren’t Corbyn and his team flagging this up as a major argument against replacing Trident? After all, why replace something that in a year or three will be completely and utterly illegal?”
Chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions, have all been banned. Nuclear weapons next?
Lesley’s article may be read here.