A NEWSLETTER FROM IRISH CND
New Series Volume 2 Spring 2005
NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE
– New York, 2 – 27 May 2005
A very important Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is taking place at the moment. It is being conducted at the UN, in New York, from 2 to 27 May. This Review is expected widely to be the most important negotiation on nuclear disarmament in five years, and one that may prove crucial for the future of nuclear disarmament. Many observers consider the future of the NPT itself to be at stake.
The NPT (1968), which Ireland was involved in negotiating, is a key treaty for international disarmament. Only three states (India, Israel and Pakistan) have refused to sign it, and just one (North Korea) has announced withdrawal from it. The Treaty now has a mandatory Review Conference every five years. At the last Review in 2000, an “unequivocal undertaking” was given by the five nuclear-weapon States (NWS) "to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all State Parties are committed under Article 6". The Conference adopted 13 Practical Steps towards disarmament.
The optimistic mood at the end of the Review in 2000 has been replaced by one of pessimism. The Preparatory Conferences for the Review have produced no progress. Meanwhile, the nuclear-weapon States have not honoured the unequivocal undertaking given in 2000, nor have they honoured their obligations under the NPT. They continue with “vertical” proliferation - researching and developing new weapons and attendant technology. “Horizontal” proliferation has seen the spread of weapons, fissile material and technology to non-nuclear-weapon States (NNWS).
On the positive side, however, a large number of countries are anxious to make progress. At least 105 are members of nuclear-weapon-free zones (NFWZ). New Zealand will be speaking for the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden). There should be around 200 NGO’s, accredited with the UN, in attendance, lobbying, holding seminars and making collective formal submissions. Reaching Critical Will, a Project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, is the key organising NGO, with offices at UN Plaza in New York. They issue regular reports and briefings, available at HYPERLINK "http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org" www.reachingcriticalwill.org
BASIC and the Oxford Research Group (Paul Rogers) have issued an Overview of the NPT and Briefing Papers at HYPERLINK "http://www.basicint.org/npt" www.basicint.org/npt
Chair, Irish CND
Campaign against the EU
A new network has been formed to focus the struggle to defeat the European Constitution. It is called the Campaign against the EU Constitution – for Social Justice and Democracy in Europe. The leading role in this has been taken by PANA (the Peace and Neutrality Alliance) and DAPSE (Democracy and Public Services in Europe).
It is based on an agreed statement which is intended to bring together the various reasons for opposing the Constitution: militarisation, nuclear power, privatisation, lack of equality and human rights. The various organisations have their own reasons for opposition and do not necessarily agree with all of the statement. Irish CND has agreed to sign on this basis.
If you are interested in seeing
the full statement, it can be viewed on the Irish CND website at HYPERLINK "http://
indigo.ie/~goodwill/icnd/neutrality.html (that's a “tilde” after ie/ – the thing on your keyboard that looks like a wave – sorry for getting this wrong in our previous issue). Irish CND has also made a submission to the National Forum on Europe outlining our opposition to the Constitution. This can also be found on the same web page, as well as an analysis of the changes which the Constitution introduces.
The date of the referendum has not yet been fixed by the government. PANA and the Campaign against the EU Constitution are organising convenors in each constituency. If the referendum is called before the next issue of Peacework, there will be a link to these organisers on the web page also.
Secretary, Irish CND
Conflict Resolution Training
INCORE, the University of Ulster Centre of Peace and Conflict Research, is holding a Summer School from Monday 13 to Friday 17 June. They say it will be an intensive week of discussion, reflection, learning and networking, facilitated by leading academics and practitioners. The courses reflect the state of the art in conflict resolution thinking and practice, bringing people involved in conflict management together to enhance their practice and to avail of cutting-edge learning.
The School provides a unique forum for policy makers, practitioners, researchers, members of the media and military to meet, creating a multi-disciplinary dialogue. INCORE invites participants to reflect on their varied experiences, to contribute to collective knowledge of those attending, whilst also increasing their individual learning through the skills and insights of the facilitators.
This year five courses are offered:
The Management of Peace Processes;
Track Two Approaches and Integrated Peacebuilding;
Evaluation and Impact Assessment of Peacebuilding Programmes;
Gender, Conflict and Education;
EU Policies and Activities in Peacebuilding, Crisis Management and Resolution.
Further information on the 2005 INCORE Summer School, including how to apply, can be found at HYPERLINK "http://www.incore.ulster.ac.uk/courses/ss/ss05.html" http://www.incore.ulster.ac.uk/courses/ss/ss05.html
INCORE DECLARE FOR A NUCLEAR-FREE WORLD !
For many months individuals and groups have been collecting signed Declarations for a Nuclear-free World. These Declarations have been initiated by the World Court Project which tries to utilise to the hilt the 1996 Opinion by the International Court of Justice that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is illegal under international humanitarian law.
The very existence of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the most widely supported disarmament treaty ever with 188 signatory states, is under threat as solemn promises made at the last NPT Review Conference in 2000 have not been kept.
In the lead-up to the make-or-break Review Conference in May this year, everyone who wants to see the nuclear-armed states honour their legal obligations and abolish these terrible weapons forever can sign a Declaration. These will be presented at the UN headquarters in New York during the Conference. It's another means of getting the Voice of the People into that high-level event.
The Declarations are not petitions. They are personal commitments, individually signed, intended to contribute towards the development of international law. If you've not signed a Declaration yet and would like to, then you can do it on the web by going to the Home Page of HYPERLINK "http://www.abolition2000europe.org/" http://www.abolition2000europe.org/ where you can read more about the Declarations and how to sign one.
Please pass on this message to your friends. The greater the number of signed Declarations, the more likely the Nuclear Weapon States will be to take notice.
Secretary, World Court Project
Nuclear weapons do not make us secure. They are about insecurity, doubt and fear. Most people want to live in a world free from the nuclear threat. This hope has the backing of law:
in 1968 the world's governments signed a treaty which promised to abolish these weapons;
in 1996 the World Court confirmed that this was a legal obligation;
in 2000 the United States of America, Russia, France, China, and the United Kingdom pledged to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.
These solemn pledges are not being kept. Negotiations haven't even started. Thousands of nuclear weapons are still ready to be used at a moment's notice.
The text of the declaration is:
I do not accept that nuclear weapons can defend me, my country, or the values I stand for.
I therefore demand that negotiations are started leading to the abolition of nuclear weapons under strict and effective international control.
The annual meeting of the Irish and UK Local Authorities Standing Conference on Nuclear Hazards took place last March in Drogheda, Co. Louth. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities organisation groups together 75 local councils in Britain and Ireland. The conference was addressed by Batt O'Keeffe, the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, who said there was no future for the nuclear industry.
In the United Kingdom, the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency took over responsibility for many nuclear sites on 1 April 2005, and already it is being investigated by the European Commission for failure to take enough account of the European Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment when drafting its annual plan. The Commission is also investigating whether the NDA's subsidies to the nuclear industry are illegal.
There is a revival of interest in Ireland, and it is hoped that many more local authorities in Ireland – some of which declared themselves nuclear-free zones twenty years ago or so – will become active. Moves are afoot to set up an all-Ireland forum of nuclear-free authorities. It has also been suggested that Regional Authorities should declare themselves nuclear-free zones.
The Strategic Policy Committees on the Environment are a good way of organising participation by local authorities. So far, in the Republic, South Dublin County Council and Dundalk Town Council are affiliated to the NFLA and motions to affiliate are down in several other Councils. Why not get on to your local councillors and encourage them to affiliate?
On 24 February 2005, Canada officially announced it would not join the United States of America in operating a continental missile defence program.
Polls showed that two-thirds of Canadians opposed involvement in the missile defence effort, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin faced strong opposition to co-operation within his Liberal Party.
The decision marked a reversal for Prime Minister Martin who had campaigned on promises to join the controversial US missile defence programme.
Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew announced in Parliament, "After careful consideration of the issue, we have decided that Canada will not participate in the US ballistic missile defence system."
He added that the decision would not "in any way" hurt relations between the neighbours, including continued cooperation under NORAD.
Prime Minister Martin said Canada's focus would be on other efforts to strengthen its military. He stated "Canada recognises the enormous burden that the United States shoulders, when it comes to international peace and security. The substantial increases made yesterday to our defence budget are a tangible indication that Canada intends to carry its full share of that responsibility."
[Source: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation The Sunflower, Number 94, March 2005.
HYPERLINK "http://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2005/03" www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2005/03
VANUNU STILL BEING PERSECUTED
"How much longer will the Israeli Government continue their persecution of Mordechai Vanunu?" was the question on the leaflets that were distributed at a vigil outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin on Friday 22 April 2005. The vigil was one of many held around the world – in Glasgow, London and Oxford, as well as in Israel/Palestine, the United States and Japan. These vigils were held to mark the first anniversary of the nuclear whistleblower’s release from prison on 21 April 2004 and to demonstrate continuing support for him, as his troubles are not over yet.
On 17 March 2005 Mordechai Vanunu was charged with violating restrictions which were imposed on him after he completed his 18 year prison sentence and which were to last for one year. He was charged with communicating with foreigners and with attempting to leave the country - he tried to attend mass in the Church of the Nativity on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem.
The good news is that the trial, which could have resulted in a three-year prison sentence, has been cancelled. However, the restrictions on leaving the country and on speaking to foreigners have been extended for another year. Yet another restriction has been added: Vanunu, who has spoken out against all nuclear weapons everywhere, has been forbidden to speak about nuclear weapons to anyone. He has a short time in which to appeal.
The Dublin vigil was organised by Justin Morahan, the Dublin represent-ative of the Peace People. At the time of the vigil, Justin was actually in Israel along with four other members of the Peace People (including Mairead Corrigan, the Belfast Nobel Peace Laureate and co-founder of the Peace People). They wanted to be in Israel for the first anniversary of Vanunu’s release and to act as a "support group in the face of the latest charges". Although the Dublin vigil was quite small, the response from passing pedestrians, cyclists and motorists was very positive.
If you would like to take part in vigils or phone calls to the Israeli Embassy as part of the worldwide ‘watch-out’ for Mordechai Vanunu’s safety and right to free speech, you should email HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
In this way you can be kept informed of developments regarding Vanunu that might call for some action.
For further information, see these websites: HYPERLINK "http://www.vanunu.co.uk" http://www.vanunu.co.uk
or HYPERLINK "http://www.nonviolence.org/vanunu" http://www.nonviolence.org/vanunu
Executive, Irish CND.
When the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl exploded in 1986, only 3% to 15% of the fuel escaped. The rest was entombed in a concrete and metal sarcophagus, inside of which nuclear reactions are still taking place. Now the building has developed cracks and is leaking radiation. A collapse could cause a catastrophe on the scale of the original accident. A replacement is needed urgently, but will cost a billion US dollars. So, who is going to pay?
Source: Independent News Service.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Monday 2 to Friday 27 May
New York: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.
Saturday 21 May
Belfast: Conference against the arms trade – Peace People and INNATE
Further details from 048-9029 3623.
Tuesday 24 May
International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament.
Thursday 1 July
Drop the Debt – public demonstration – Irish Make Poverty History campaign. Further details from HYPERLINK "http://www.makepovertyhistory.ie" http://www.makepovertyhistory.ie or 01-405 3801.
Monday 4 July
Scotland, Faslane: Action to shut Britain's Number 1 nuclear base, to mark the G8 summit taking place in Scotland – Trident Ploughshares.
Further details from HYPERLINK "http://www.tridentploughshares.org/g8" www.tridentploughshares.org/g8 or 00-44-141-423 1222.
Tuesday 26 July to Tuesday 9 August
Belgium, Ypres to Kleine Brogel NATO base, via NATO Headquarters: Hiroshima peace walk – For Mother Earth.
Further details from HYPERLINK "http://www.motherearth.org" www.motherearth.org or 00-32-9-242 8752.
Saturday 6 August
Dublin, Merrion Square: Annual Hiroshima commemoration – Irish CND. It is hoped to have a commemoration in Cork also.
Further details from HYPERLINK "http://indigo.ie/~goodwill/icnd.html" http://indigo.ie/~goodwill/icnd.html
Saturday 10 September
Global Day of Mobilisation for a New World Order Against Poverty, War and Unilateralism, to mark the United Nations Heads of State summit – World Social Forum.
Wednesday 21 September
International Day of Peace.
Friday 14 to Monday 17 October
Nagasaki Forum for Nuclear-Weapons-Free World – Nobel Peace Laureates.
Monday 24 October
United Nations Day.
Trial of Pit Stop Ploughshares resumes in the Four Courts, Dublin.
Monday 24 to Monday 31 October
Euratom and the E.U. Constitution.
In case you thought Euratom had gone away, it is still there as a Protocol in the proposed E.U. Constitution. When the Treaties were signed in Rome in 1957, nuclear energy was seen a means to achieving energy independence. Members would cooperate and invest in it. Research was to be promoted, uniform safety standards set up, supply of ores and nuclear fuels regulated. Most importantly, its powers were limited to the peaceful civil uses of nuclear power.
No major changes have ever been made to the Euratom Treaty. In the proposed Constitutional Treaty some amendments are made to take account of the new rules established by the Constitution, particularly in the institutional and financial fields. Do we want a Constitution which enshrines the privileged position of nuclear power?
Executive, Irish CND.
“Pit Stop Ploughshares” COURT CASE
In the early hours of 3 February 2003, five peace activists cut the wire fence and entered Shannon Airport. Members of “Pit Stop Ploughshares”, they are opposed to the use of Shannon as a Pit Stop for planes involved in war. They spray-painted ‘Pit Stop of Death’ on the hangar which housed the U.S. Navy warplane that was being repaired after Mary Kelly, another activist, had damaged it on 19 January 2003. They began hitting the plane with hammers and a mallet. In this way they attempted to enact Isaiah’s prophecy: “they will beat their swords into ploughshares” – the text which the part of their name, “Ploughshares”, refers to.
Two of the five “Pit Stop” group, Deirdre Clancy and Damien Moran, are Irish. Nuin Dunlop is from the U.S. Karen Fallon is Glasgow-Irish and Ciaron O’Reilly is Irish-Australian. O’Reilly was one of the “Anzus Ploughshares” who disarmed a B-52 Bomber in New York during the 1989 Gulf War and one of the “Jabiluka Plough-shares” who disabled uranium mining equipment in the Northern Territory, Australia, in 1998. In 2002, O’Reilly started “Pit Stop Ploughshares”, a Dublin affiliate of the Catholic Worker movement.
On 7 March 2005, in the Four Courts in Dublin, the five activists were charged with causing €2.5 million criminal damage to a plane and €200 damage to a hangar window. The defendants argued that they were attempting to protect lives and property and were upholding the law, by non-violently resisting Irish participation in the Iraq war. On the sixth day the jury was dismissed and a mistrial declared. A new trial date was announced for 24 October.
Before the trial, about 170 supporters, including a large contingent from the U.S. and two Japanese Buddhist monks, assembled at the Monument of Light in Dublin’s O’Connell Street. From there they walked, silently and in single file, to the Four Courts. After the trial, they walked to the Dail where they were met by three T.D.s - John Gormley, Finian McGrath and Joe Costello. They submitted a letter to the Taoiseach on behalf of Kelly Dougherty, a former military sergeant with the U.S. National Guard and co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Dougherty had come to testify, in court, to the brutality and criminality of the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
“Pit Stop Ploughshares” have started a vigil outside Dublin’s G.P.O. from 4.00 to 6.00 every Monday afternoon, to protest against the continuing use of Shannon Airport as a Pit Stop for the transit of troops and munitions to Iraq. During the first quarter of 2005, the number of U.S. troops passing through Shannon on the way to or from Iraq was 90,000 – three times last year’s figure. Mr. O’Reilly hopes that people will join this public opposition to this use of Shannon.
For further information see: HYPERLINK "http://www.peaceontrial.com/" www.peaceontrial.com and HYPERLINK "http://www.plowsharesactions.org/" www.plowsharesactions.org
Executive Irish CND.
A Europe for Peace
Well over a hundred people attended a conference in Manchester at the beginning of March this year, organised jointly by Greater Manchester and District CND in Britain and the Mouvement de la Paix in France. The conference was entitled "A Europe for Peace" and considered several topics such as NATO, international law, missile defence and the European Constitution. Tobias Pflueger, a German MEP, pointed to dangers in the European Security Strategy, which was supposed to deal with areas within 8000 kilometres of Brussels. However, the EU has already despatched troops to the Congo which is more than 8000 km. away. Countries are seeking influence through the battlegroups now being formed - for example Luxembourg is supplying 100 soldiers to a battlegroup so that it will have a voice.
Caroline Lucas, the British Green MEP, said that Europe should be putting forward an alternative to the United States, not aping them. Other speakers called for the denuclearisation of the EU, the abrogation of NATO and the reinforcement of the United Nations and the Organisation for
Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). NATO's expansion into eastern Europe had been a great opportunity for re-equipping armies, for example, arms sales; and NATO's policy (contrary to the Non-Proliferation Treaty) of stationing nuclear weapons with the air forces of European countries was being extended to Poland.
A new nuclear reactor is being built in Finland, on a much more dangerous design to the previous Finnish reactors.
A campaign against it is collecting a million signatures in the EU to stop all such reactors – you can sign up at HYPERLINK "http://www.atomstopp.com" http://www.atomstopp.com
At the conference, a statement was agreed which drew attention to the EU Constitution's strengthening of ties with NATO and opposing pre-emptive wars, space weapons and foreign military bases. The text, together with conference speeches, can be viewed at
HYPERLINK "http://www.gmdcnd.org.uk/events/europeconference/europepeace.htm" http://www.gmdcnd.org.uk/events/europeconference/europepeace.htm
Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Feachtas um Dhi-armail Eithneach
PO Box 6327, Dublin 6
e-mail: HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
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Spring 2005 Peacework Page