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World Peace Forum Calls on the United States to Lead the World in Nuclear Disarmament|
Published 8 September 2006
Clearly understanding that nuclear weapons are illegal, immoral and environmentally destructive and that the only way to ensure that they will never be used is to eliminate all nuclear weapons,
Privileged to have heard the powerful warnings from individuals who have experienced terrible pain and loss due to the effects of nuclear radiation from nuclear bombs, tests, uranium mining and other stages of the nuclear cycle,
Warned further of the risks posed by the 27,000 nuclear weapons (especially those thousands on high alert);
The Forum calls on all states - especially the nuclear weapons states - to fulfill their obligations under international law to work rapidly toward the goal of nuclear abolition.
We call upon all nuclear weapons states to:
b) reject all policies by all states for nuclear use;
c) begin negotiations on treaties covering various aspects of the arms race, including a legally-binding ban on weapons grade fissile material;
d) compensate all victims of nuclear weapons’ use, production and testing;
e) re-affirm their adherence to the "13 practical steps" to eliminate nuclear weapons agreed to by all state parties to the NPT at the 2000 Review Conference;
f) Study and use as guidance the 60 recommendations to free the world of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons contained in the report "Weapons of Mass Terror" released during the Forum by Dr. Hans Blix on behalf of the WMD Commission.
We call upon all states to urgently comply with their legal obligation and revive negotiations in good faith on an agreement for verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament and to end reliance on nuclear weapons within all defence policies.
We encourage all global citizens to:
a) invite their mayors to join Mayors for Peace;
b) invite their parliamentarians to join the Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament;
c) engage in public education on the need to eliminate the threat posed by nuclear weapons and on the role of international law, using the unanimously endorsed UN Disarmament Education Study (see http://disarmament.un.org/education/) ;
d) promote the signature campaign for the swift abolition of nuclear weapons to be submitted to the UN General Assembly in October 2006.
e) work persistently to have their community declared a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, backed with effective legislation, and join in efforts to bring more of the world into Nuclear Weapon-Free Zones;
f) encourage professional associations to develop codes of conduct to prohibit their members from participation in development of nuclear weapons,
g) work to establish effective national whistle-blower protection legislation.
h) engage the next generation in all of the above efforts, knowing that the nuclear legacy lasts tens of thousands of years.
We encourage all states to live up to their obligations as reaffirmed by the International Court of Justice that international law requires negotiations leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons and welcome the consideration by some governments and non-governmental experts to seek a new opinion from the ICJ on the fulfillment of states’ responsibilities.
There is an inextricable link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons. We reject the notion that nuclear power is the solution to any problem; we call for the phasing out of nuclear power and for the establishment of an International Sustainable Energy Agency. States must work to redress the harm suffered by indigenous and colonized people because of the nuclear fuel cycle.
As the world’s leading military and nuclear power, the United States bears a special responsibility to lead the other nuclear weapon states in fulfilling their obligations to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons in security doctrines and eliminate their weapons stockpiles. Even as the United States condemns North Korea for preparing to test a new missile, the Pentagon is poised to develop its own new generation of nuclear-capable long-range delivery systems. And while President Bush declares a nuclear-armed Iran would pose "a grave threat to the security of the world," the United States is modernizing every weapon type in its vast nuclear arsenal.
Largely through the actions of the United States, a new arms race has begun. The rejection of international law (including arms control treaties), the drive to deploy ballistic missile defenses and weapons in space, the refusal to rule out the development of new warheads, the threats of first use of nuclear weapons have caused the other nuclear weapon states to work to modernize and expand their forces and have caused non-nuclear states to seek to develop their own nuclear weapons.
While recognizing the special responsibility of the administration of President Bush in forcing the world into this impasse, we acknowledge that the current administration is simply exacerbating policies that predate this administration and will - if not resisted by civil society - continue beyond its term in office.
One way to break the stranglehold of nuclear weapons is to work on one of the weakest links in the nuclear chain: oppose plans in the United Kingdom to replace its Trident nuclear fleet. The UK Trident submarine fleet, based in Scotland, is opposed by a broad cross-section of the Scottish public. The replacement system would waste at least 25 billion pounds. We endorse the call of Scottish and other UK activists to convince the government not to replace Trident, thus beginning a domino effect of nuclear disarmament around the world.
This statement was based on discussions and recommendations coming out of workshops and plenaries on nuclear weapons at the World Peace Forum.
It was prepared by:
Pamela S. Meidell
June 28, 2006
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