P&J – an Affiliate of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – Welcomes Nobel Peace Prize

Fantastic News! The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – ICAN – of which the Peace & Justice Centre is an affiliate – has today been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize!
53 Countries have signed the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons. When 50 Ratify it, it will be International Law. To date the UK, US, Russia and other nuclear weapons states have refused to sign and in fact actively opposed the treaty. 
From experiencing campaigning most people in Britain didn’t even know about it. The award of the Peace Prize will massively boost awareness of this historic campaign. This is the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons. At last, after decades of campaigning we can, perhaps, see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It should now be crystal clear that the only way to prevent any future nuclear war is to ban them. But make no mistake, the countries that possess nuclear weapons, and those that want them, will not relinquish them without a fight. 
This comes at a time when, with the crisis in North Korea, tensions between the US and Russia, tensions with China, and, most importantly the uncertainty of Donald Trump, in the White House, with his finger hovering over that nuclear button at every moment, the risk of nuclear war is greater than at any time since the Cold War. Trump has repeatedly threatened the use of nuclear weapons. As we have said before, This is Not OK.  
It is vital that people everywhere understand the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. and that banning them is the only way to insure security against them.
That has been the core message of ICAN for ten years. The use of 50 or even just 10 nuclear weapons – of the tens of thousands still in existence worldwide would cause a nuclear winter due to the cloud of radioactive dust that would fill the air over half the world and would cause a global famine leading to the deaths of a Billion people. That’s 1/7 of the world’s population. But we can prevent this.
In its Statement on Nobel Peace Prize 2017 ICAN has honoured the millions of people who have campaigned for nuclear disarmament for generations. 
” It is a great honour to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 in recognition of our role in achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This historic agreement, adopted on 7 July with the backing of 122 nations, offers a powerful, much-needed alternative to a world in which threats of mass destruction are allowed to prevail and, indeed, are escalating.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in one hundred countries. By harnessing the power of the people, we have worked to bring an end to the most destructive weapon ever created – the only weapon that poses an existential threat to all humanity.

This prize is a tribute to the tireless efforts of many millions of campaigners and concerned citizens worldwide who, ever since the dawn of the atomic age, have loudly protested nuclear weapons, insisting that they can serve no legitimate purpose and must be forever banished from the face of our earth.

It is a tribute also to the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the hibakusha – and victims of nuclear test explosions around the world, whose searing testimonies and unstinting advocacy were instrumental in securing this landmark agreement.”

Please spread the word of this momentous ocassion and get involved.  There are lots of ways to do so.  

Some of the survivors of the Hiroshima bomb visited the Peace & Justice Centre just last week, and others visited earlier this year.  We heard their stories and told them about our Origami Cranes Project which aims to make 140,000 origami peace cranes to remember Hiroshima and give the message that this must Never happen again. All are invited to get involved in this as one way to deepen the opposition to nuclear weapons. Find out more about the project, info on the next workshop and how you can contribute to the project here. 

The Peace & Justice Centre is proud to be an affiliate of ICAN. We have been campaigning in Scotland for nuclear disarmament since 1980. 
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Network of 2000+ NGOs Support Scotland Leading Way to a Nuclear Weapons Free World

Abolition 2000 Edinburgh / Faslane Declaration Delivered to Faslane Base Commander’s Representative

Following a reception hosted by MSPs Bill Kidd and Patrick Harvie at the Scottish Parliament yesterday where the former Mayor of Hiroshima and Chairman of the Middle Powers Initiative Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba spoke, a dozen members of the international nuclear disarmament network Abolition 2000 made a declaration in support of a “Nuclear Free Scotland” leading the way to a “Nuclear Free World” at Faslane Naval Base today. Read the full text of the declaration here.

Abolition 2000 is a network of over 2000 organizations in more than 90 countries world wide working for a global treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Handing over the declaration

The Abolition 2000 Edinburgh / Faslane Declaration “From a Nuclear Free Scotland to a Nuclear Free World” was handed to Deputy Duty Officer Willie Allen, representing Base Commander Commodore Mike Wareham, at the North Gate of Faslane Friday 19 April, by Abolition 2000 member John Burroughs, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committe on Nuclear Policy. The interaction was very friendly, with Duty Officer Allen spending twenty minutes in conversation with the campaigners.  The prominent international activists from about ten countries then symbolically blocked the entrance to the base for 20 minutes while the gate was closed during a shift change.

According to Alyn Ware, International Coordinator of the network Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) the Declaration will “Affirm that nuclear weapons are unworthy of civilization and an unacceptable threat to current and future generations.” He added that it would “commend the non-violent direct actions undertaken at Faslane to expose the catastrophic threats to humanity and the environment and oppose the UK nuclear weapons” based on the Clyde and “support the efforts of Scottish citizens and legislators to establish Scotland as a nuclear-weapon-free zone, and reject the nuclear weapons based on its territory.”

The network held its annual meeting in Edinburgh, before many of the representatives of NGOs head to Geneva for the Preparatory Committee meeting of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty beginning next week. According to Brian Larkin, Peace and Justice Centre Coordinator and a member of Abolition 2000 network group Trident Plouoghshares “The Abolition 2000 network  chose to meet in Edinburgh to support the movements for nuclear disarmament here. Throughout the two days of meetings in Edinburgh delegates emphasized the hope that Scotland will be the first European country to reject nuclear weapons. That could lead to the UK being the first P-5 country to abandon its nuclear weapons, a step which could help pave the way for the global abolition of nuclear weapons.”

The issuing of the Declaration at Faslane and delivering it to the Clyde Naval Base Commander was the culmination of a week of campaigining against nuclear weapons in Glasgow, Edinburgh and at Faslane which began with the Scrap Trident demonstration in Glasgow and continued on Monday with the Big Blockade.

Amongst the conference delegates who visited Faslane were Aaron Tovish, Executive Director of the Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign, Jackie Cabasso, Executive Director of the Western States Legal Foundation, and Susi Snyder, Nuclear Disarmament Programme Leader for IKV Pax Christi in the Netherlands.

Faslane Naval Base is homeport to the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system and was the scene of the Scrap Trident protest on Monday when 45 protesters were arrested for blocking the entrances.

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