Report of the conference in the congress by Josef Gerson
Summary: The conference provided a forum for an exceptional range of nuclear weapons abolition advocates and organizers from national, international and grassroots organizations, from nuclear weapons states, umbrella states, and non-nuclear weapons states, the Global South and the North, and advocates and critics of the Ban Treaty process to share information, analysis and organizing models. One immediate outcome has been the beginning of collaborative planning to impact nuclear weapons states in the run up to and during the negotiations to take place in March and June 2017, as mandated by the U.N. General Assembly’s L.41 resolution “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations”
The conference was held in three sessions:
First Session – Analysis Panel:
- Testimonies by Tanaka Terumi (Tanaka-Berlin.pdf), Secretary General Nihon Hidankyo and by Sakuma Kunihiko (Sakuma-Berlin.pdf), Hiroshima Council of A- Bomb Sufferers Organizations
- Inga Blum, IPPNW-Germany and ICAN
- ICAN founded by IPPNW 2006. Human Consequ4ences conferences led 127 nations to support the Humanitarian initiative and call for a Ban, leading to the Open Ended Working Group.
- The nuclear powers and their allies oppose the ban process, which will begin without the nuclear powers on board. The ban will create moral pressure. Germany’s support for step by step diplomacy undermines the NPT. An example of moral pressure was the vote by the Dutch parliament, which has not been honored by the government. Also, the moral pressure of the ban will work like the campaigns to ban smoking.
- There are two trends in Germany, ICAN and the traditional peace movement. The attempt is to create an inter-European network of parliamentarians. The choice is to support the Global South or the nuclear powers and their allies. ICAN does education of young people and is creating an inter-European youth organization. A petition is being launched on Oct. 3 to influence the German government to support the ban. The more traditional peace movement focuses on the Buchel base, where U.S./NATO nuclear weapons are stored and has campaigned with nonviolent campaigns.
- Jayantha Dhanapala, President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Sri Lanka
- Began with a tribute to the Hibakusha. Over 71 years they have persisted, having endured having paid the terrible cost of the humanitarian consequences of the nuclear weapons. They should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, not war mongers.
- The NPT is the only treaty that commits the nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states to abolition. It serves to keep these nations in check
- The three pillars of the NPT are of equal importance and mutually reinforcing. All three must be supported, but nuclear weapons states and some non-nuclear weapons states support one.
- He has been involved with the NPT process since 1985. The nuclear powers focus on the NPT only on the eves of the Review Committee sessions. There was one crisis in the 1995 Review and Extension conference, when the debate was whether to extend the Treaty indefinitely or for only a few years. Nuclear weapons states wanted indefinite extension to avoid the nuisance of holding Review Conferences every 5 years; they wanted a free ride. The non-nuclear weapons states lost an opportunity when they were strong armed by the nuclear weapons states. South Africa wanted to limit the extension to 20 or 25 years, but the U.S. worked on them, with the outcome being indefinite extension with reviews every five years and the commitment to hold a Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone conference.
- We have a crisis in the NPT because the nuclear powers haven’t fulfilled their part of the NPT, especially the Middle East Nuclear Weapons and WMD free-zone commitment. He cited the collapse of the 2015 Rev Com on this issue. Unless something is done about the MENWWMD-free zone between ow and 2020, we will have a new crisis. It’s important to use the PrepCom and also to press for the abolition of Highly Enriched Uranium.
- Tarja Cronberg (Former Chair, Finish Green League Party & former MEP – now at SIPRI)
- Crisis of NPT. Iran challenged it on Article VI, now challenged by Ban approach
Question & Answer Session:
- How is Ban compatible with NPT?:
- Cronberg: Could operationalize Article VI with a timetable with steps. Nuclear weapons states won’t accept an amendment to NPT coming out of the ban process. She questions what a treaty which leaves the nuclear powers outside of it, e.g. North Korea, would accomplish. A possible compromise would be implementation of the Fissile Materials Cut Off Treaty or ratification of CTBT.
- Dhanapala: All the ban would do is to confirm Article VI. The two other pillars will remain, even if Article VI is ever implement. Need for concern about the number of threshold countries.
- Agrees with Sharon Dhalev: the ban can help to stigmatize, but without the participation of the P-5 and Nuclear 9, it won’t have impact. What is required is for people in the nuclear weapons to rise up against them. Those in umbrella states to have important responsibilities to be fulfilled. See, for example, Japan’s opposition to the possibility of the U.S. reversing it’s first-strike doctrine. Germans need to get rid of U.S. nuclear weapons.
- In 1995, the Chinese were happy with the extension and joined the P-5 statement, and have been saying they’ll make no cuts until the U.S. and Russians do so, but they don’t say how many the U.S. and Russia must cut before China follows. The Brits lost on Trident renewal, which was done in a stealth action. Civil society was caught napping and must become better organized, need for better use of social media.
- *Someone in the conference noted that Hillary Clinton had informed the former German foreign minister that Germany couldn’t give up U.S. nuclear weapons because it would undermine deterrence.
Second Session: Citizens Movement Panel
Dave Webb (Chair – CND)
- In February CND held the largest nuclear disarmament demonstration in 30 years, 60,000, co-sponsored by 27 organizations.
- The Scottish National Party and Scotland are opposed to nuclear weapons
- They were disappointed by the Trident renewal vote, which was compounded by Labor Party disarray at the time
- International pressure on the nuclear weapons states is helpful, including the work of ICAN
- Trident can still be cancelled if the coalition can be rebuilt. CND’s conference in October will focus on refining strategy
- Demonstration today at Flyingdale. Kate Hudson is speaking there with a Stop Ramstein speaker. Next week there will be a demo at Menwith Hill.
- Important to involved young people, especially about the costs of Trident and its impacts on their lives, including the loss of social services.
Yayoi Tsuchida (Associate General Secretary, Gensuikyo)
- Summarized Hiroshima Declaration and OEWG report
- Strong resistance of nuclear weapons states and umbrella states to fulfilling Article VI
- The world is less secure, with abolition the priority. The North Korean text is another warning to the northeast Asian region, compounding the dangers of nuclear war or a nuclear weapons accident in East Asia. The U.S. and Japan are responsible, with nuclear threats and provocations, for driving North Korea into building its nuclear arsenal
- Japanese opposition to a U.S. no first use doctrine
- Importance of public opinion, stigmatizing nuclear weapons with Hibakusha testimonies and A-bomb photo exhibits. Only 30% of Japanese students know the significance of the August 6, 1945 date.
- My talk is attached/summarize
Yves-Jean Gallas (Mouvement de la Paix)
- Mouvement de la Paix formed in 1949 by former resistance fighters to work for peace without war. Its initial work focused on the Stockholm Appeal. Their recent work has focused on creating a culture of peace.
- They are working with a host of allied organization on a range of issues: joining labor unions to oppose new labor laws, with the CGT for full employment, opposing demands for spending 2% of GDP for the military. MVP works with Kurds, Africans and others and is engaged with international organizations including IPB and Abolition 2000. It is preparing a major mobilization for the next NATO summit in Belgium.
Marion Kupker (German Network for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, DFG-VK, IFOR, Nonviolent Action Group for the Withdrawal of Nuclear Weapons from Buchel)
- Marion rooted her presentation in the history of the German vs. U.S. arms race during WWII, and the need for Germans’ need to apologize for starting the nuclear arms race.
- Speaking about Germany’s complicity in preparations for nuclear war, she noted Germany vote in the United Nations against nuclear weapons abolition, Germany’s commitment to burden sharing with the U.S, with German pilots trained and prepared to drop B-61 nuclear weapons. She noted the 2012 NATO summit’s agreement to upgrade the 190 U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe and Turkey. This needs to be opposed before the bombs are detonated.
- The groups she works with conduct 20 weeks of action at the Buchel base, where U.S. nuclear weapons are deployed. Among their goals are to increase the awareness in the region to break through the government’s and media’s efforts to prevent public discussion and debate about the nuclear weapons. Polls indicate that 87% of the German people want the weapons out. Their actions conclude on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki anniversaries. Their actions include nonviolent civil disobedience blockades. It is important, she said, to break the rules to release the energies of the majority of people who want abolition.
- Among their initiatives is circulation of a declaration of commitment, in which people who sign pledge to done at least one thing per year to oppose nuclear weapons. They also have a statement of solidarity for the weeks of action, and are calling for a week of international action in June, 2017.
- Europe continues to hid behind NATO, Governments like Germany say that they cannot leave the nuclear sharing agreement, but the NATO charter is silent on the question of nuclear weapons, and it should be noted that France, a NATO member, does not participate in NATO sharing.
THIRD PANEL – Collaborations Panel
Jackie Cabasso (Western States Legal Foundation, Abolition 2000 & United for Peace and Justice)
In her role as chair of the session. Jackie reported on the successful Abolition 2000 annual general meeting held on the eve of the IPB Congress…….
Alyn Ware (Inter-Parliamentary Union and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament) – Speaking on behalf of Saber Chowdhury
- PNND’s members come from across the political spectrum. It does not issue policy statements in order to hold the unity that allows for discussion. It promotes and informs others of its member’s initiatives. A few, including British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, forcefully advocate nuclear weapons abolition. It holds meetings twice a year for about 700 parliamentarians. They have produced a resource for religious leaders and launched the Unfold Zero organization
Arielle Dennis (IPPNW & ICAN)
- Sixteen countries initiated the Humanitarian Consequences process and launched the Humanitarian Declaration, which is now supported by more than 130 countries. The U.N. General Assembly will debate the response to the Open Ended Working Group report.
- In working to create a new norm, ICAN works with the diverse diplomatic community, engaging diplomats in the Conference on Disarmament, NPT-related conferences, the First Committee and the Humanitarian Initiative conferences.
- Low income nations are often underrepresented in nuclear disarmament diplomacy. It is therefore important to meet with their diplomats between conferences to keep them informed. The Human Consequences conferences have educated a new generation of diplomats.
- Critical to winning nuclear weapons abolition is civil society’s pressure from below.
Keisuke FUSE (Zenroren, Japan)
- His talk will provide Japanese trade union perspectives on international collaborations. Zenroren collaborates with labor forces in other countries to advance workers’ rights, including for a nuclear weapons-free world.
- Collaboration within Japan is critical as Prime Minister Abe is increasing military spending, attempting to revise the constitution, and opposing efforts to achieve nuclear weapons abolition. 120,000 people surrounded the Diet to oppose Abe’s war laws, which would make Japan a war fighting nation, and to defend the constitution and democracy. Political parties created a united front in the last election to oppose the war laws, putting aside long-held differences. A campaign to secure 20 million signatures opposing the war laws now has 13.5 million signatures.
- There is also a united front against construction of a new U.S. military base in Henoko, Okinawa, against nuclear weapons, and opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Labor unions are making the links between the economy and the imperative of nuclear disarmament.
- Zenroren is deeply involved in the Hibakusha’s international signature campaign. It also helps to support the annual World Conference against A- & H- Bombs held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the anniversaries of the A-bombings.
Jean-Paul Nanfack (Mayors for Peace, Cameroon)
- He has recruited one half of the 300 Africans in Majors for Peace. Formed in 1982, Mayors for Peace has 7,000+ members and represent 1 billion people. It has addressed NPT Review conferences, and at the U.N. recently opposed the North Korean nuclear weapons tests. Mayors for Peace also addresses human rights, hunger, and climate change, and has held Hiroshima/Nagasaki exhibits on a worldwide basis.
- It’s important to engage the broader public. Mayors for Peace is doing this with its Cities are Not Targets Campaign, its 2020 Action Plan. It presses for national laws to support economic conversion and works to movement the money so that roads can be build, cancer can be fought, etc. The truth is that if there were a nuclear war, no one could dance or drink!
Susi Snyder (Pax – Netherland)
- Susi described Don’t Bank on the Bomb which does the research, publishes its annual report on financial institutions with investments in companies involved in manufacturing nuclear weapons (not delivery systems) – http://www.dontbankonthebomb.com/the-2015-report-is-out, and supports and engages in efforts to divest from these institutions.
- The Cambridge, Massachusetts City Council voted unanimously to divest its pension and other funds as part of the Don’t Bank on the Bomb campaigning, but anyone with a bank account or pension investments can initiate actions.
- While these divestments won’t bankrupt these nuclear weapons manufacturers, but they can plan important roles in stigmatizing nuclear weapons, and thus creating the public foundation for nuclear disarmament.
- The Open Ended Working Group report includes a provision calling for and end to financing for nuclear weapons abolition.
Peter Weiss (Co-founder International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms and Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy.)
- Richard Falk has written a helpful article on the illegality of nuclear weapons, which is well worth reading. Under traditional international law, nuclear weapons are already illegal. It is important not to say that a legal gap exists. Doing so communicates that nuclear weapons can be used legally. ICAN has done good work in alerting people about the nuclear dangers, but there is no legal gap.
- “Denial is not an option. The only option is perseverance.”
- A problem in the strategy of negotiating a legal document banning nuclear weapons without the participation of the nuclear powers is that the way international law works, international treaties and agreements apply to only those who sign on, and thus in this case not to the nuclear nine.
- IPPNW, IALANA, IALANA-USA, and INESAP created a draft nuclear weapons abolition convention, which they updated in 2007. It has been introduced into the United Nations by several governments, thus making it an official U.N. document. It is a helpful resource in working with diplomats and serves as a model that can be used in future negotiations.
- IALANA will be sponsoring a talk in October by former Sec. Defense William Perry, who opposes the “step by step” approach to nuclear disarmament.
- Nuclear weapons are one of two existential threats. We need to make this threat real to people.
- LCNP and IALANA have collaborated for the past four decades with other anti-nuke organizations, particularly IPPNW, INESAP and the World Court Project.
- The draft nuclear weapons convention, now an official UN document, is one product of that cooperation *IALANA was an early endorser of the ICAN project and continues to support it. However, it is important not to state or imply that threat and use of nuclear weapons are legal currently, because they are already illegal under customary international law *It must also be recognized that the scope of a ban treaty would be limited to those states party to the treaty, which is not likely to include any NW states