Treaty banning nuclear weapons welcomed by campaigners

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The UK Government has been criticised for not taking part in UN disarmament talks. 

10th July 2017 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A treaty banning the use of nuclear weapons has been welcomed by campaigners.

The Nuclear Ban Treaty, seen as a “significant step” towards global disarmament, was endorsed by 122 nations at the United Nations on Friday.

It would make the development, testing, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons illegal under international law.

However, the discussion was boycotted by all nuclear-armed and Nato member states save the Netherlands.

This represents a significant step forward and will make the possession of these weapons morally and practically more difficult

The Scottish CND said it was delighted that the treaty had been passed, but branded the UK Government “disgraceful” for not taking part.

“It is really disappointing that the UK government did not take part in these historic talks,” a spokesman said.

“However there is evidence to suggest that UN treaties can be effective even when some nations fail to sign up to them.

“The US did not sign up to the landmines treaty but has now changed its landmines policy to comply with the treaty. It is time for the UK to join the 122 nations who think that killing hundreds of thousands of people with nuclear weapons is morally wrong and should be made illegal.”

Trident Ploughshares members had campaigned in New York throughout the treaty discussions, and this week celebrated its endorsement.

Angie Zelter, the campaign’s founder, said: “It is a crime to threaten mass destruction and this treaty strengthens pressure on the UK government to finally obey international law.”

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, also called for the UK government to rethink its stance on the “inherently evil” weapons.

He said: “In 1972 the world banned biological weapons; we have subsequently banned chemical weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions.

“Now, the UN has ratified the Nuclear Ban Treaty. While there is much more that needs to be done before we can rid the world of nuclear weapons, this represents a significant step forward and will make the possession of these weapons morally and practically more difficult.”

“Nuclear weapons are indiscriminate in their use of force and the disproportionate scale of suffering that they are capable of unleashing makes them unjustifiable.

“Steps now need to be taken to urge our own government to take further their own commitments to nuclear disarmament, particularly in light of last year’s disappointing decision to renew Trident.”

 UN delegates will be able to sign up to the agreement at the international organisation’s general assembly in September.