Australian news, and some related international items

Australia isolated on UN nuclear treaty boycott

Protest outside Parliament House, Canberra, Tuesday 28th March at 8am

On Monday 27th March, the United Nations will begin the first of two sessions to negotiate a legally binding instrument for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. This conference was launched by a resolution at October’s UN General Assembly, with support from 123 nations.

Australia announced it will boycott the negotiations despite being obliged by Article VI of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to pursue negotiations on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament in good faith. The Government believes that nuclear weapons should remain an Australian defence option, via the policy of US weapons based ‘extended nuclear deterrence’. This contrasts to strong support for a ban amongst almost all neighbouring countries in South-East Asia and the Pacific.

Protestors will gather outside Parliament at 8am on Tuesday March 28 to support a ban treaty. Speakers will include Senator Lisa Singh, Senator Scott Ludlam and Bishop Pat Power.

The ban treaty negotiations have arisen from a series of conferences examining the devastating and long-term impacts of any nuclear weapon detonation. A critical mass of nations is now pursuing a new legal instrument to outlaw nuclear weapons, creating a global stigma on their production, stockpiling, possession, use and threat of use.

The US Government has pressured its allies not to participate in the negotiations over concerns of the impact a ban will have on the ability to plan for nuclear war. The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, will deliver a statement outside the General Assembly Hall as ban negotiations kick off on Monday.

A new poll* shows that 74% of Australians want the Government to support the UN ban negotiations, while only 10% agree with the boycott.

The major parties are divided on the issue, with the ALP platform firmly supporting “the negotiation of a global treaty banning [nuclear] weapons”. Anthony Albanese MP and Senator Lisa Singh have introduced motions in both chambers urging the Government to participate in the ban negotiations.

Indigenous nuclear test survivor Sue Coleman-Haseldine is in New York to speak at the negotiating conference on the impact of nuclear weapons testing. “The new treaty should make sure that countries have to look after the needs of impacted people. To look after us is also to look after our land,” she said.

“In a time of global insecurity, our world urgently needs this new action plan for pursuing nuclear disarmament – and Australia should embrace it,” said ICAN’s Outreach Coordinator, Gem Romuld.  “The ban negotiations are modelled on comparable bans on chemical and biological weapons and landmines. This is a timely and historic opportunity to make nuclear weapons illegal along with the other weapons of mass destruction”.

“Boycotting the ban talks flies in the face of Australia’s international obligations and casts doubt on our commitment to the UN. Australia must choose the right side of history and join the ban negotiations without delay”.

March 25, 2017 - Posted by | ACTION, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war

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