Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day: Time for action

Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day: Time for action on nuclear weapons

iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand

28 February 2014

Links: Formatted for printing: http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/ican-anz-nfip-day2014.pdf On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/notes/peace-movement-aotearoa/nuclear-free-and-independent-pacific-day-time-for-action-on-nuclear-weapons-ican/641309469249759

Tomorrow, 1 March, is Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day - the 60th anniversary of the largest nuclear weapon detonation, the 'Bravo' nuclear bomb test conducted by the United States close to the surface of Bikini Atoll, in the Marshall Islands - a particularly poignant reminder of the crucial importance of the elimination of nuclear weapons for our region, the Pacific, and beyond.

Communities immediately downwind of the Bravo detonation suffered exposure to fatal levels of radioactivity, and the blast created a fallout cloud which covered Rongelap Atoll (100 miles away) and Utrik Atoll (320 miles away). Fallout from just this one nuclear weapon detonation spread over more than 7,000 square miles, and traces were detected throughout the Pacific, in India, Japan, the United States and Europe.

The catastrophic consequences of that detonation, along with the other 66 nuclear weapons tests in the area, on the health of the Marshallese people and on the environment are well documented, for example, in the Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on his 2012 visit to the Marshall Islands and the United States: “The nuclear testing resulted in both immediate and continuing effects on the human rights of the Marshallese. According to information received by the Special Rapporteur, radiation from the testing resulted in fatalities and in acute and long-term health complications. The effects of radiation have been exacerbated by near-irreversible environmental contamination, leading to the loss of livelihoods and lands”. [1]

Just two weeks ago, the Mexican government hosted the second international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons (the Nayarit conference), which concluded that: the immediate and long-term effects of even a single nuclear weapon detonation, let alone a nuclear exchange, would be catastrophic; that as more states deploy more nuclear weapons on higher levels of combat readiness, the risks of accidental, mistaken, unauthorized or intentional use of these weapons grow significantly; and that no state or international organization has the capacity to address or provide the short and long term humanitarian assistance and protection needed in case of a nuclear weapon detonation, nor would it be possible to establish such capacities.

As with the first international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, hosted by Norway last year, the evidence presented at the Nayarit conference lead to the conclusion that the very existence of nuclear weapons is a massive threat to global peace and security, and that the unacceptable consequences of any use clearly means nuclear weapons must be banned.

iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand is pleased that the New Zealand government was represented at the Nayarit conference, along with 145 other states, and spoke of the harmful consequences of nuclear detonations in the Pacific. New Zealand’s final statement to the conference included: “Our meeting here has helped to underline the terrible risk that nuclear weapons continue to pose for us all. This is not a risk that we should force our societies to face. It is a risk that we must act to eliminate.”

Strong words, but not as strongly worded as the joint statement by other Pacific nations:

Pacific Island nations have long called for a world free of nuclear weapons. Today, we reiterate our firm belief that the only way to guarantee that these terrible weapons of mass destruction are never used again is to ban and eliminate them.

It is unacceptable that the deadliest weapons of all nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not yet expressly prohibited by an international convention. A treaty banning the use, manufacture and possession of nuclear weapons is long overdue. This conference has demonstrated that there is a clear humanitarian imperative for us to start negotiations.

Nuclear-free nations, which make up the vast majority of the international community, should not sit back and wait for the nuclear-armed nations to lead the way. We must set the agenda ourselves.[2]

When announcing that Austria would host a follow up conference to Nayarit, the Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian pointed out: “Nuclear weapons are not only a permanent threat to all humankind but also a relic of the cold war that we must finally overcome. International nuclear disarmament efforts require an urgent paradigm shift, not the least in light of the danger of further nuclear weapons proliferation.” In his concluding statement, the Nayarit conference Chair stated: “It is time to take action. The 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks [2015] is the appropriate milestone to achieve our goal. Nayarit is a point of no return.”

iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand agrees that action to abolish nuclear weapons is long overdue and that 2015 is an appropriate date to accomplish that goal. In 2012, the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee’s Report on the iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand petition to Parliament concluded: “New Zealand should move beyond a position of general support to the forefront of negotiations towards a nuclear weapons convention.”

We therefore call on the New Zealand government to now move to the forefront of negotiations as recommended by the Select Committee, and to make a clear public statement of New Zealand’s support for negotiations to begin on a global ban on nuclear weapons, using a fast-track diplomatic process such as the Oslo process on cluster munitions, and their preparedness to take a leading role in this, including hosting a diplomatic conference in Wellington.

Such a crucial contribution to global peace and security would not only be of immense benefit to the international community, but would also assist with New Zealand’s current bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

About iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand: iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand is the one of the national campaigns of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (iCAN), which also has more than 300 partner organisations in 80 countries around the world.

iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand has nineteen supporting organisations, fifteen national and four local NGOs. In common with the other iCAN national campaigns, our goal is the elimination of nuclear weapons through a global treaty to ban their possession, production, deployment, use and threat of use. More information about iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand, updates and resources are available athttp://www.icanw.org.nz

References

[1] Mission to the Marshall Islands: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, 3 September 2012, A/HRC/21/48/Add.1
[2] Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu, joint statement to the Second international Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

  • Week in Parliament 22-05-15
  • Saturday Sitting
  • House Rises At Midnight
  • Telco Levy Bill Passes
  • Telco Levy Bill Completes First Reading
  • Social Housing Bill Passes Under Urgency

  • TPPA: University Of Auckland Warns Of Negative TPP Impact

    The University of Auckland May 20, 2015 University of Auckland Warns of Negative TPP Impact With the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation drawing to a close, the University of Auckland has expressed serious concerns about its potential implications. ... More>>

    NZ Flag: Flag Referendum Gets Hit Hard In New Poll

    The latest Campbell Live text poll confirms it is time for the Prime Minister to listen to the public and shelve his flag referendum, says the New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

    Gordon Campbell: The Government’s Belated Moves On Property Speculation

    Is it a property tax on capital gains or a capital gains tax on property? The Jesuitical distinctions in the government’s spin about its latest moves on property speculators are all about whether the government can claim that it jumped, or confess that it ... More>>

    Grant Robertson:
    Key Can’t Just Be Prime Minister For Parnell

    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In a ... More>>

    Labour Party: More Regional Jobs Go In Corrections Reshape

    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka ... More>>

    ALSO:

  • NZ First - Prison Job Losses to Send Money Offshore
  • TPPA: ‘Team Obama’ Regroups On Fast Track, Still Not Deliverable

    ‘After yesterday’s stinging and unexpected defeat for the Obama administration’s attempt to advance Fast Track legislation in the US Senate, Senate leaders have worked up a compromise they think will get them past this blockage’, according to Auckland ... More>>

    NZ Government: 5,500 More Doctors And Nurses In Our Hospitals

    Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a record number of doctors and nurses are working in District Health Boards across the country. More>>

    Controller and Auditor General: Katherine Rich Conflict of Interest Decision

    We are writing to you about a matter that has been raised with us by members of the public. More>>

    ALSO:


    Budget 2015: Andrew Little On The 2015 Budget

    Speaking to the Chamber of Commerce, the Labour opposition leader attacked the government’s approach to economic issues facing New Zealand. He said they have been “more than reckless in their complacency” and “the next week’s budget will do nothing ... More>>

    Defence Force: NZDF Building Partner Capacity Mission Personnel In Iraq

    NZDF Building Partner Capacity Mission Personnel in Iraq The New Zealand Defence Force Building Partner Capacity training mission contingent is in place at Taji Military Complex in Iraq. The Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating says the ... More>>

    PM Press Conference: ACC Levy Cuts Announced

    In a press conference this afternoon in Wellington, ACC Minister Nikki Kaye proposed $500 million worth of ACC levy cuts. More>>

    Quakes: New Process For Red Zone Crown Offers

    Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a process to give everyone a say on the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial/industrial and uninsured properties in the Residential Red Zone. More>>

    ALSO:

    Gordon Campbell: On The Battle Obama Is Waging Over The TPP

    For the past two and a half years, this column has been arguing that the fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will hinge on whether US President Barack Obama can win Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from Congress... Last week, the White House finally, finally unveiled a draft TPA Bill. More>>

    ALSO:


    Gordon Campbell: On lessons for Labour from the UK election
    If the polls were right – and the pollsters kept telling us how accurate they’d been in 2010, and even Nate Silver was getting the same results – there seemed no way that the British Labour Party could lose last Thursday’s British election. With Labour predicted to win around 270 seats and the Scottish National Party batting around 55-60 seats, Labour seemed to be home free. But…as we now know, things didn’t turn out that way. Labour ended up with 232 seats and the Conservatives swept back to power with an outright majority, after winning only a little more than a third ( 36.9%) of the votes cast.MORE >>
    Also.

  • NZ PM John Key - PM congratulates David Cameron after UK election
  • The Nation IV Transcript - Hack Attack author Nick Davies
  • Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Politics
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news