Call to ban nuclear weapons

Rebecca Johnson, convenor, Security, Peace and Defence working group

Rebecca Johnson

Originally published in Green World 91

On 7 December 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted several resolutions supporting multilateral disarmament, including a pledge to 'fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons'. The UK voted against.

After years of deadlock, multilateral nuclear disarmament talks are now on the agenda, following international conferences on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons held in Oslo, Nararit (Mexico) and Vienna during 2013-14.

With 144 states voting to hold UN talks, a working group will be convened in Geneva in 2016. Instead of welcoming this important opportunity to negotiate a disarmament treaty that will enhance our security, the Cameron government is hell bent on building new nuclear submarines - at almost double the previously quoted price tag - lining the pockets of arms corporation BAE.

Green politicians and parties strongly support humanitarian initiatives to get a comprehensive nuclear ban that will protect our environment and go further than the current Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Like other treaties that have prohibited chemical and biological weapons, a multilateral nuclear ban will contribute to security by strengthening legal norms and obligations to reduce and eliminate existing arsenals.

Such a treaty is the most viable next step to reinforce efforts to prevent nuclear weapons being enhanced, spread and used. Some nuclear-armed states might have reduced the weapons in their arsenals, but the dangers have increased with over 15,000 weapons held by nine states and transported across many more countries.

Replacing Trident will add to the 'nukes of hazard' warhead convoys being driven between England's bomb factories at Aldermaston-Burghfield and the Trident bases in Scotland (pictured). With the price tag for Trident spiralling to over £167 billion, we can win this campaign and thwart Trident replacement. Our priority is to highlight nuclear risks along?the nuclear transport routes, embarrass the government over costs, and build overwhelming support for Britain to join international negotiations to stigmatise, ban and eliminate nuclear weapons globally.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has called for a mass protest against Trident on 27 February 2016 in London. For more, see the CND website.