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  • Nuclear weapons: Renewed global threat. Emerging solutions Mo, 16. Januar 2017, 16:30 – 18:30, Kongresszentrum Messe Basel (Karte)A public event on the occasion of the Basel Peace Forum Renewed global threats: • Tensions and nuclear threat ...
    Veröffentlicht um 30.12.2016, 00:51 von Claudia Bürgler
  • UN beschließen zu Heiligabend Konferenz über Atomwaffenverbot (Pressemitteilung ICAN Deutschland 24.12.2017). Zum Heiligabend (deutscher Zeit) hat die Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen in New York beschlossen, ab März kommenden Jahres offiziell über ein Atomwaffenverbot zu verhandeln ...
    Veröffentlicht um 24.12.2016, 04:59 von Claudia Bürgler
  • The ban treaty: You asked, we answered! Last week, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that sets up negotiations of a new legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.This is a huge success for all ...
    Veröffentlicht um 02.11.2016, 02:35 von Claudia Bürgler
  • The Growing Threat of Nuclear War and the Role of the Health Community World Medical Journal: 28.10.2016, Ira Helfand, Andy Haines, Tilman Ruff, Hans Kristensen, Patricia Lewis, Zia MianPlease see attachement:
    Veröffentlicht um 31.10.2016, 01:38 von Claudia Bürgler
  • Apocalypse no! Weshalb ein Kernwaffenverbot der UN alles ist, aber keine Schnappsidee. Von Sascha Hach | 05.09.2016 http://www.ipg-journal.de/kommentar/artikel/apocalypse-no-1604/ Picture Alliance Noch immer lagern weltweit mehr als 16 000 Atomwaffen – genug, um unseren ...
    Veröffentlicht um 06.09.2016, 04:39 von Claudia Bürgler
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Nuclear weapons: Renewed global threat. Emerging solutions

veröffentlicht um 30.12.2016, 00:20 von Claudia Bürgler   [ aktualisiert: 30.12.2016, 00:51 ]

Mo, 16. Januar 2017, 16:30 – 18:30
, Kongresszentrum Messe Basel (Karte)

A public event on the occasion of the Basel Peace Forum

Renewed global threats:
• Tensions and nuclear threat postures between Russia and the West have risen to nearly Cold War levels;
• Europe is a region of conflicts, and of deployment of nuclear weapons on high alert and on first-use policies;
• Nuclear weapons have proliferated to additional States and could be acquired by terrorists; Emerging solutions:
• Over ½ the world is now in Nuclear Weapon Free Zones;
• There are proposals for additions NWFZs in Europe, Middle East, NE Asia and the Arctic;
• The United Nations has initiated multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament and will hold a high level conference in 2018 to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Speakers:
* Prof. (em.) Andreas Nidecker, MD (Switzerland). President, Basel Peace Office Past President & Board Member IPPNW Switzerland
* Arielle Denis (France), Consultant, International Peace Bureau
* Prof. (em.) Dr. Harald Müller (Germany), Director, Peace Research Institute of Frankfurt
* Alyn Ware (New Zealand), Global Coordinator of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament
Contact: www.baselpeaceoffice.org info@baselpeaceoffice.org

Flyer see below

UN beschließen zu Heiligabend Konferenz über Atomwaffenverbot

veröffentlicht um 24.12.2016, 04:59 von Claudia Bürgler

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(Pressemitteilung ICAN Deutschland 24.12.2017). Zum Heiligabend (deutscher Zeit) hat die Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen in New York beschlossen, ab März kommenden Jahres offiziell über ein Atomwaffenverbot zu verhandeln. Damit setzt sie einen politischen Kontrapunkt zu den Ankündigungen Russlands und der USA in den vergangenen Tagen, nuklear aufzurüsten. Mit 113 Stimmen machte die Mehrheit der Staatengemeinschaft den Weg frei für die Ächtung der zerstörerischsten Massenvernichtungswaffen. 35 Staaten stimmten gegen die Resolution, welche Beginn, Ende und Rahmen einer Verhandlungskonferenz absteckt. 13 Staaten enthielten sich der Stimme. Bis zum 7. Juli 2017 soll das Vertragswerk ausgehandelt sein.

ICAN (Internationale Kampagne zur Abschaffung von Atomwaffen) sieht im Beschluss der Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen einen Wendepunkt in der Geschichte der Abrüstung und zugleich ein Zeichen der Hoffnung angesichts des Versagens des Sicherheitsrates, seinen Auftrag als Garant des Weltfriedens zu erfüllen. „Nach den betrüblichen Ereignissen der vergangenen Tage in Aleppo, Ankara und Berlin und dem Schock der US-Wahlen erscheint der Beschluss wie ein Licht, das der Welt Orientierung geben kann“, sagt Sascha Hach, Vorstandsmitglied von ICAN Deutschland. „Die bestehende, auf Atomwaffen fußende Weltordnungspolitik und ihre alten Machtzentren haben das Vertrauen vollends verspielt. Es ist, als ob die Generalversammlung mit dieser Resolution eine neue Ära einläuten will. Diesem Appell müssen die Regierungen nun folgen“ schlussfolgert Hach. Für Xanthe Hall von der Ärzte- und Friedensorganisation IPPNW ist die Resolution „ein echtes Weihnachtsgeschenk“. „Jetzt gilt es, dieses Geschenk auszupacken. Wir fordern die Bundesregierung auf, an den Verhandlungen im nächsten Jahr teilzunehmen“, fordert die Abrüstungsexpertin.

In den vergangenen drei Jahren ist eine immer stärker werdende Bewegung aus atomwaffenfreien Staaten und Zivilgesellschaft herangewachsen und hat die humanitären Auswirkungen von Atomwaffen ins Zentrum der abrüstungspolitischen Debatte gestellt. Nach drei großen internationalen Konferenzen forderte die so genannte humanitäre Initiative ein Verbot von Atomwaffen und initiierte eine Arbeitsgruppe zur nuklearer Abrüstung bei den Vereinten Nationen. Diese tagte dieses Jahr in Genf und rief im August nach einer internen Kampfabstimmung die Generalversammlung dazu auf, im kommenden Jahr Verhandlungen zu einem Atomwaffenverbot einzuberufen. Daraufhin haben noch im September sechs atomwaffenfreie Staaten – Österreich, Irland, Mexiko, Brasilien, Südafrika und Nigeria – der Generalversammlung eine entsprechende Resolution vorgelegt. Diese wurde unter dem Kennzeichen L41 am 28. Oktober 2016 zunächst vom Ersten Ausschuss mit überwältigender Mehrheit angenommen. Die Abstimmung in der Vollversammlung bestätigt formell den Beschluss des Ausschusses.

Am 27. März 2017 beginnen nun in New York die Verhandlungen zum völkerrechtlichen Verbot von Atomwaffen. In zwei Runden wollen die Vereinten Nationen bis zum 7. Juli 2017 einen Vertrag zur internationalen Ächtung verhandeln. Damit wird eine Lücke im Völkerrecht geschlossen: Atomwaffen sind die einzigen Massenvernichtungswaffen, die noch nicht verboten sind.

Kontakt: Xanthe Hall, 0161- 941 61 249, eMail

http://www.icanw.de/neuigkeiten/un-beschliessen-zu-heiligabend-konferenz-ueber-atomwaffenverbot/

The ban treaty: You asked, we answered!

veröffentlicht um 02.11.2016, 02:33 von Claudia Bürgler   [ aktualisiert: 02.11.2016, 02:35 ]

Last week, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that sets up negotiations of a new legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

This is a huge success for all of us, thank you for all of your tweets, emails, donations and any other actions you have taken to support our work! 

In this world of acronyms, resolution numbers, endless documents and paragraphs, it's not always easy to keep up to speed with what it all actually means.

Here are some of the questions we've received about the resolution:


What did the resolution actually decide? 

The resolution "Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations" was adopted on 27th October by the UN General Assembly. 123 states voted in favor, 38 voted against and 16 abstained. You can see the detailed voting result here

The resolution convenes a conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, which will take place in 2017. 

It does not outline the content of the treaty, but recognizes the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the risks related to the existance of nuclear weapons as a reason for moving forward with a prohibition. 

When will the negotiations take place? 

The resolution stipulates that the negotiating conference will convene twice in 2017. The first meeting will be held on 27-31 March and the second meeting will be held on 15 June-7 July. 

The resolution calls on states participating in the conference to "make their best endeavours to conclude as soon as possible a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons."

ICAN believes it's possible and will work hard to ensure that a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons can be adopted by the end of the negotiating conference in July. 

Can states that voted no participate in the negotiations? 

Yes! The resolution specify that negotiations will be open to all states, international organizations and civil society. It also encourages all member states of the United Nations to participate in the negotiations. 

Several states that decided to vote no have indicated that this decision does not rule out their eventual participation in the treaty negotiations. 

ICAN will work hard to ensure that as many states that voted no as possible participate in good faith in the negotiations and we are confident that some will. 

What impact will this treaty really have if nuclear-armed states don't sign it? 

A ban on nuclear weapons will establish an international norm against the possession of nuclear weapons, which will help to reduce the perceived value of such weapons. It will draw the line between those states that believe nuclear weapons are unacceptable and illegitimate, and those states that believe nuclear weapons are legitimate and able to provide security.
 
If nuclear weapons continue to be portrayed as a legitimate and a useful means to provide security, non-nuclear weapon states might aim to develop such weapons themselves.
 
Banning nuclear weapons is not the same as eliminating them. However, a ban will be a necessary starting point for disarmament to happen. While the dismantlement of all nuclear arsenals might be a long process, a clear international rejection of these weapons is going to be an essential component of future disarmament efforts.
 
A ban on nuclear weapons will make the maintenance and development of nuclear weapons less attractive and more difficult, both for existing nuclear weapons possessors and potential new ones. It will create better conditions for effective disarmament measures.
 
Previous experiences with for example biological and chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions, shows that prohibition precedes elimination, even if not all states sign the treaty.

Does NATO membership prevent states from participating and signing this treaty? 

There are no legal grounds for why a NATO country would not be able to work for a ban on nuclear weapons. 

NATO member states have reserved the right to adopt independent national policies on nuclear weapons as long as the Alliance has existed. Some of these national positions already restrict participation in the nuclear weapons activities of the Alliance, without restricting these states from participating in the work of the Alliance more generally. States can also change their role in various planning groups, and have historically done so, including in the Nuclear Planning Group.

While NATO’s strategic concept from 2010 says that as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance, the concept also declares that the alliance should work to create conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons. A ban on nuclear weapons will stigmatize and prohibit nuclear weapons, creating better conditions for nuclear disarmament. Working for nuclear disarmament is not just a reference in a strategic concept, this is also an obligation in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a treaty signed by all member states of NATO.

The 2010 NPT outcome document called for the reduction of reliance on nuclear weapons in security doctrines. By leading the work to stigmatize and prohibit nuclear weapons, NATO states can implement their national obligations by increasing the influence over NATOs next strategic concept and implement the commitments from 2010 to ”reduce the reliance on nuclear weapons in security doctrines”.

The facts that have emerged during the three humanitarian consequences, as well as the new discussion about the risks such weapons pose should be the start of a dialogue in all NATO states about what more NATO states can do to reach a world free of nuclear weapons.

Will ICAN participate in the negotiations? 

You bet! We will work hard to make sure that the text of the treaty stays strong, that as many countries as possible participate and to ensure that people around the world can influence their governments.

Got more questions? Check out our frequently asked questions about a treaty banning nuclear weapons or send us an email on info@icanw.org

The Growing Threat of Nuclear War and the Role of the Health Community

veröffentlicht um 31.10.2016, 01:37 von Claudia Bürgler   [ aktualisiert: 31.10.2016, 01:38 ]

World Medical Journal: 28.10.2016, Ira Helfand, Andy Haines, Tilman Ruff, Hans Kristensen, Patricia Lewis, Zia Mian
Please see attachement:

Apocalypse no! Weshalb ein Kernwaffenverbot der UN alles ist, aber keine Schnappsidee.

veröffentlicht um 06.09.2016, 04:39 von Claudia Bürgler

Picture Alliance Picture Alliance Noch immer lagern weltweit mehr als 16 000 Atomwaffen – genug, um unseren Planeten gleich mehrfach auszulöschen.

Der globale Süden gegen den globalen Norden – im August hat im Genfer Völkerbundpalast eine deutliche Mehrheit atomwaffenfreier Staaten gegen die Minderheit von Atomwaffenbesitzern und deren Alliierten aufbegehrt. Eine überwältigende Zahl an UN-Mitgliedstaaten forderte per Kampfabstimmung in den Vereinten Nationen ein Verbot von Atomwaffen und will hierzu bereits im Jahr 2017 Verhandlungen aufnehmen. Dass in der sogenannten Offenen Arbeitsgruppe der Vereinten Nationen zu nuklearer Abrüstung (Open-ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament – OEWG), die von westlichen Medien kaum zur Kenntnis genommen wurde, per Mehrheitsprinzip abgestimmt wurde, war ohnehin ein Novum. Üblicherweise herrscht in solchen UN-Gremien striktes Konsensprinzip, und dies ist auch wichtiger Grund, warum es bei der Rüstungskontrolle in punkto Atomwaffen nicht vorangeht. Noch immer lagern weltweit mehr als 16 000 Atomwaffen – genug, um unseren Planeten gleich mehrfach auszulöschen. Über 90 Prozent dieser Bestände sind im Besitz der USA und Russlands. Daran hat sich auch seit Barack Obamas Ankündigung bei seinem Amtsantritt im Jahr 2009, sich für eine atomwaffenfreie Welt einzusetzen, nichts geändert.

Die letzten Sitzungsstunden am europäischen Sitz der Völkergemeinschaft verliefen dramatisch und endeten in einer offenen Revolte. Heraus kam eine förmliche Aufforderung an die UN-Generalversammlung, den Weg für ein Atomwaffenverbot frei zu machen. Für die Atomwaffenstaaten und ihre Verbündeten ist dieses Votum ein diplomatisches Fiasko. Sie stemmen sich schon lange gegen ein Verbot von Atomwaffen und hatten versucht, ein Aufbegehren der atomwaffenfreien Staaten zu verhindern. Bei Letzteren war die Frustration nach zwei Jahrzehnten stockender Abrüstung jedoch inzwischen so groß, dass sie sich nicht länger von den Atomwaffenstaaten vertrösten lassen wollten. Nachdem sich die mit Obama verbundenen Hoffnungen auf eine neue Dynamik in der Abrüstungspolitik nicht erfüllt hatten, waren sie nicht mehr bereit, weiter tatenlos zuzusehen, wie die Atommächte den Abbau ihrer Arsenale verweigern und stattdessen Waffenbestände modernisieren.

Die Nichtatomwaffenstaaten wollten nicht weiter tatenlos zuzusehen, wie die Atommächte den Abbau ihrer Arsenale verweigern und stattdessen Waffenbestände modernisieren.

Schon lang gor es in den verschiedenen internationalen Gremien der nuklearen Abrüstung und Rüstungskontrolle. Die letzte Überprüfungskonferenz des Atomwaffensperrvertrags im Mai 2015 in New York war krachend gescheitert, das nukleare Nichtverbreitungsregime verliert zunehmend an Unterstützung. Entgegen ihrer Versprechungen und vertraglichen Verpflichtungen haben die Atomwaffenstaaten, allen voran die USA und Russland, jeden substanziellen Fortschritt blockiert. Dies taten sie stets mit dem Verweis auf innere und äußere Zwänge, das innenpolitische Korsett oder die außen- und sicherheitspolitischen Engpässe. Dabei schreckten die beiden größten Atommächte auch nicht vor demonstrativem Zynismus zurück. Moskau und Washington erklärten, dass die Spannungen und Animositäten zwischen ihnen für weitere Abrüstungsschritte zu groß seien. Im gleichen Zungenschlag übten sie aber den Schulterschluss und bildeten eine unzertrennbare Front gegen die immer lauter werdenden Forderungen der atomwaffenfreien Staaten nach einem Verbot und Abschaffung der Bombe.

Das bigotte Bündnis der Atommächte wurde von ihren Alliierten unterstützt. Auch von jenen, die sich immer wieder für Abrüstung einsetzten und offiziell für eine atomwaffenfreie Welt eintreten. Deutschland, traditionell Befürworter der nuklearen Abrüstung und prinzipiell deeskalierend unter den großen Playern der internationalen Politik, stimmte ebenso gegen die Aufnahme von Verhandlungen für ein Atomwaffenverbot und untermauert so den Wall der Nuklearstaaten. Damit übergeht die Bundesregierung nicht nur die Mehrheitsmeinung der internationalen Gemeinschaft, sondern auch die der eigenen Bevölkerung. 93 Prozent der Bundesbürger befürworten nach einer Forsa-Umfrage vom April 2016 ein generelles Atomwaffenverbot.

93 Prozent der Bundesbürger befürworten ein generelles Atomwaffenverbot.

Die Niederlage der Gegner eines Atomwaffenverbots bei der Genfer Abstimmung ist gänzlich selbstverschuldet. Während die Atomwaffenstaaten die Verhandlungen boykottierten, war es ihren Alliierten gelungen, in mehreren Verhandlungsrunden hinter verschlossenen Türen die Forderungen der Befürworter eines Verbots nahezu bis zur Unkenntlichkeit aufzuweichen. Es ist dem diplomatischen Dilettantismus und Alleingang der australischen Regierung zu verdanken, ihrer ebenso arroganten wie provokativen Verweigerung, den in nächtelangen Sitzungen errungenen Konsens mitzutragen, dass es zu einem machtpolitischen Showdown kam. Der Taktlosigkeit Australiens folgte ein Paukenschlag. Die Mehrheit der Staaten der südlichen Erdhalbkugel überstimmte eine Minderheit, der vor allem entwickelte Staaten aus dem Norden angehörten, und stieß damit die Atomwaffenstaaten erstmals förmlich und protokollgerecht in einem UN-Gremium von ihrem Sockel. Es war eine Revolte.

Dabei ging es nicht um irgendein weiches Politikfeld oder Handelsverträge. Nein, dieser Akt der Emanzipation berührte den wahrscheinlich sensibelsten Bereich der internationalen Politik. Es ging um nicht weniger, als die Aberkennung der Legitimität der Nuklearmächte und ihrer Privilegien, welche seit Ende des Kalten Krieges die sicherheitspolitische Weltordnung prägen. Der Beschluss der Genfer Arbeitsgruppe markiert einen Wendepunkt in der internationalen Abrüstungspolitik. Mit ihm hat der globale Süden ein Machtwort gesprochen und das nukleare Ancien Régime in Frage gestellt. Die bisherigen Nutznießer einer diskriminierenden Weltordnung müssen diese politische Realität anerkennen. Künftig werden Fragen der nuklearen Abrüstungspolitik nicht mehr allein zwischen den USA und Russland verhandelt, sondern zwischen dem nuklearen Norden und dem atomwaffenfreien Süden.

Künftig werden Fragen der nuklearen Abrüstungspolitik nicht mehr allein zwischen den USA und Russland verhandelt, sondern zwischen dem nuklearen Norden und dem atomwaffenfreien Süden.

Im Oktober 2016 werden die Unterstützer eines Atomwaffenverbots auf Grundlage der Empfehlung der OEWG der UN-Generalversammlung in New York eine Resolution zum Beginn von Verhandlungen im kommenden Jahr vorlegen. Aller Voraussicht nach wird sich nach der Genfer Abstimmung nun auch in New York eine Mehrheit hinter dieser Forderung versammeln. Ein Atomwaffenverbot, bei dem die Atomwaffenstaaten nicht mitmachen, wird natürlich nicht alle Probleme lösen und binnen weniger Jahre eine atomwaffenfreie Welt schaffen. Aber wie die Beispiele des Landminen- und Streumunitionsabkommens zeigen, bei denen die großen Besitzerstaaten ebenso fern blieben, können auch nicht-universelle völkerrechtliche Standards den Druck in punkto Abrüstung erhöhen und den Außenseitern einen gehörigen Imageschaden zufügen. Nicht nur Atomwaffen, auch Reputation stellt in der internationalen Politik eine entscheidende Machtressource dar.

Die endgültige Entscheidung über einen möglichen Beginn von Verhandlungen wird Ende dieses Jahres erwartet. Bis zur nächsten Abstimmung im für Abrüstung zuständigen Ersten Ausschuss der Generalversammlung im Herbst müssen die Atomwaffenstaaten und ihre Verbündeten auf die nuklearen Habenichtse zugehen, wenn ihnen wirklich am Erhalt des nuklearen Rüstungskontrollregimes gelegen ist. Sollten sie hingegen weiter für sich beanspruchen, gemeinsam vereinbarte Regeln eigenmächtig brechen zu können, bestimmen künftig andere die Regeln – ohne sie.

ICRC Reiterates Calls for Nuclear Weapons Prohibition, Setting Timeframe. ASTANA TIMES, 24.8.2016

veröffentlicht um 25.08.2016, 00:35 von Claudia Bürgler

By Bauyrzhan Serikbayev in Opinions on 24 August 2016

On the eve of the international conference Building a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World  to be held Aug. 29 in Astana, Christine Beerli, Vice-President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) talked to The Astana Times on modern challenges in achieving global nuclear disarmament.

What is the ICRC’s position

on the importance of the continued struggle to ban nuclear weapons and nuclear tests?

Like the Republic of Kazakhstan, the ICRC has some fundamental views on nuclear weapons and on how to move towards a world without them. I appreciate this opportunity to share them with you.

ICRC has been involved in nuclear issues ever since the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. One of the ICRC’s delegates, Dr. Marcel Junod, was the first foreign doctor in Hiroshima to assess the effects of the atomic bombing and to assist its victims. In his diaries, Junod wrote “The centre of the city was a sort of white patch, flattened and smooth like the palm of a hand. Nothing remained.”

The ICRC, and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement more broadly, have long been concerned about the human suffering that results from any use of nuclear weapons. As is now known, nuclear weapons can have severe and long-term consequences on human health and can even affect the children of those exposed to the ionising radiation released by a nuclear explosion. Information published last year by the ICRC and the Japanese Red Cross Society indicate that today, some 70 years after the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese Red Cross hospitals in those cities continue to treat several thousand victims each year for cancers and illnesses attributable to the atomic bombings of those cities. The health of children born to survivors in the years following their direct exposure to the blasts is also being monitored. The fact that thousands of civilian victims still live at risk and still require treatment for illness and suffering attributable to atomic bomb radiation is incomprehensible. This is equally true for the people and plight of Semipalatinsk, where even though the last test was conducted in 1989, the effects continue to be felt. Clearly, these situations must never occur again.

Thankfully, nuclear weapons have not been used in an armed conflict for more than 70 years and nuclear testing is now a rare occurrence. Yet, today there remains a significant risk of intentional or accidental nuclear detonation. This includes the risk of hostile use and also a detonation that may occur through malfunction, mishap, false alarm and misinterpreted information.

And despite these risks, there remains no effective means of assisting a substantial portion of survivors in the immediate aftermath, while adequately protecting those who will be called upon to deliver assistance. The reality is that if a nuclear weapon were to detonate in a populated area, there would be an overwhelming number of people in need of treatment and most of the local medical facilities would be destroyed or unable to function. Access to the area would likely be impossible due to debris and damage to infrastructure. And assistance providers would face serious risks associated with exposure to ionising radiation. In most countries and at the international level there is little capacity and no realistic or coordinated plan to deal with such challenges.

The risk of the tremendous human costs of nuclear weapons led the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in 2011 to appeal to states to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again. We also called on them to prohibit their use and completely eliminate them through a legally-binding international agreement in accordance with their existing commitments. The ICRC President, Peter Maurer, repeated this call in 2015 and urged states to set a timeframe within which to achieve this goal. While negotiating the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons may take some time, the nuclear-armed states and their allies can and should take immediate steps to reduce the risks that such weapons pose by reducing the role of nuclear weapons in their military plans and reducing the number of warheads on high alert, where such a status exists.

Unfortunately, 2015 was not a year of great progress in the field of nuclear disarmament. The Review Conference of Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons failed to reach a consensus agreement on advancing nuclear disarmament despite previous commitments. There are also reports that the pace of reduction of nuclear arsenals has slowed and that nuclear-armed states continue to modernise their arsenals. Such developments are cause for serious concern.

At the same time, it is encouraging that a 2015 United Nations General Assembly resolution on nuclear weapons supported by 139 countries recognised the need to bring about the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons and urged all states to works towards this goal. Equally promising were the work and recommendations of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations, which just concluded in Geneva. In the view of the ICRC, it was the most significant and substantial discussion to date within the UN system on specific measures to achieve nuclear disarmament. The discussions highlighted that there are a range of approaches that can advance disarmament. Its recommendation for the UN General Assembly to convene a conference in 2017 to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons has potentially historic implications. This and the rest of the group’s recommendations must be seriously considered and taken forward by states.

The ICRC believes that urgent action must be taken to reduce the dangers that nuclear weapons pose and that states must begin negotiations to prohibit their use and secure their eventual elimination. This is a humanitarian imperative. Protecting humanity from the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons requires courage, sustained commitment and concerted action. Today’s complex security environment highlights both the challenges and necessity of such steps. Nuclear weapons are often presented as promoting security, particularly during times of international instability. But weapons that risk catastrophic and irreversible humanitarian consequences cannot seriously be viewed as protecting civilians or humanity as a whole. We know now more than ever before that the risks are too high, the dangers too real and perils of inaction are much too great.

How, in your view, do events like the Building a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World conference in Astana help in pursuing the goals of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation and the ICRC’s mission?

On behalf of the ICRC, I would like to thank the Republic of Kazakhstan for inviting me to participate in this important event. Kazakhstan has shown in word and in action that it is an ardent advocate of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Its commitment is reflected in the convening of this annual conference, its decision to voluntarily renounce the nuclear weapons it inherited upon gaining independence, its role in establishing Central Asia as a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone, its membership in the Asian Nuclear Safety Network and its efforts in the UN and numerous other fora to help advance the elimination of nuclear weapons. Kazakhstan’s election as at non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2017 provides an opportunity to further these goals.

Events like the conference in Astana are very important to raise awareness of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and the need to ensure that such weapons are never used or detonated again. They also help foster dialogue among states in an effort to help advance nuclear disarmament.

The upcoming conference is a key part of the international dialog on nuclear weapons, particularly in this region of the world. It builds upon previous and important events like the Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which was held in New York from April 27-May 22, 2015;the Conferences on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, convened respectively by Norway in March 2013, Mexico in February 2014 and Austria in December 2014 and the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations which I mentioned earlier.

The conference is also part of the ongoing and effective efforts of Kazakhstan on this issue. Kazakhstan’s political and legal initiatives on nuclear weapons clearly demonstrate its high level of commitment and determination to advance nuclear disarmament.

These important efforts, and those taken by others in partnership with the broader international community, will help ensure that a world without nuclear weapons will become a reality. The elimination of theseweapons is particularly important to actors such as the ICRC, given our humanitarian mission. We never again want to see a nuclear weapon detonate nor ever again have to witness or respond to their horrific humanitarian consequences.

 original article

UN talks recommend negotiations of nuclear weapons ban treaty

veröffentlicht um 22.08.2016, 00:10 von Claudia Bürgler

August 19, 2016

In a dramatic final day, the groundbreaking UN talks on nuclear disarmament concluded by making a clear recommendation to start negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Known as the “Open-Ended Working Group” (OEWG), the talks have taken place in February, May and August of this year and have outlined a number of elements that should be included in a new legally binding instrument which prohibits nuclear weapons. The majority support for the ban treaty was clearly underlined by joint statements delivered by Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Pacific as well as statements from several European states.

Resistance continued to come throughout the working group from a small group of states who continued to argue that nuclear weapons are essential to their national security. Despite threatening to block a report which contained a recommendation for a ban treaty, these governments did not have the leverage to thwart the successful outcome of the group.

After long deliberations, it seemed that States were going to agree to a compromised report which reflected the views of both sides of the ban treaty issue. However, after this agreement had seemingly been secured behind closed doors, Australia made a last-second turnaround and announced that it was objecting to the draft of the report and called for a vote. In spite of the opposition from Australia and several other pro-nuclear weapon states, the majority was able to carry the day. On that basis, the working group was able to recommend the start of negotiations on a new legal instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons.

This breakthrough is result of the new global discourse on nuclear weapons. Bringing together governments, academia and civil society, a series of three conferences have uncovered new evidence about the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the risks of their use, whether accidental or intentional. The momentum generated by the “humanitarian initiative” has now culminated with the international community on the verge of negotiating a nuclear weapons ban.

Nuclear weapons remain the only weapons of mass destruction not yet prohibited under international law, despite their inhumane and indiscriminate nature. A ban would not only make it illegal for nations to use or possess nuclear weapons; it would also help pave the way to their complete elimination. Nations committed to reaching the goal of abolition have shown that they are ready to start negotiations next year.

It is now up to the October meeting of the UN General Assembly First Committee to bring forward this process by issuing a mandate to start the negotiating process.

Photo: Xanthe Hall

Presseecho zu Hiroshima-Gedenkveranstaltung in Heiden. Tagblatt Osttschweiz 8.8.2016

veröffentlicht um 09.08.2016, 03:04 von Claudia Bürgler

«So etwas darf sich nicht wiederholen»

Am Ende durften alle Gäste die Friedensglocke einmal zum Läuten bringen (Im Bild Othmar Kehl).
Am Ende durften alle Gäste die Friedensglocke einmal zum Läuten bringen (Im Bild Othmar Kehl). (rz)

Am Samstag läutete die Friedensglocke in Heiden zum Gedenken an die Opfer des Atombombenabwurfs in Hiroshima in Japan. Dieses schreckliche Ereignis fand vor 71 Jahren statt. Zum Gedenktag sprachen Stimmen aus verschiedenen Organisationen.

RONJA ZELLER

HEIDEN. Am 6. August vor 71 Jahren löschte eine Atombombe in Hiroshima rund 80 000 Menschen innert Sekunden aus. Bis heute sterben damalige Bewohner Hiroshimas an Krebserkrankungen als Langzeitfolge der Strahlung. Schätzungen ergeben, dass durch diesen Abwurf bis zu 166 000 Personen ihr Leben verloren haben. Nur drei Tage später passierte das Gleiche in der Stadt Nagasaki.

Läuten für den Frieden

Am Samstag wurde in Heiden zum Gedenken an das Ereignis und an die Opfer die Friedensglocke neben dem Henry-Dunant-Museum geläutet. Organisiert wurde der Anlass vom Henry-Dunant-Museum, Dunant 2010plus und den ÄrztInnen zur Verhütung eines Atomkrieges (PSR/IPPNW Schweiz). Gleich nach dem 18-Uhr-Glockenschlag der Kirche Heiden läutete John Böhi, Vorstand Henry-Dunant-Museum, zu Beginn der Feier die Friedensglocke. Der ehemalige Chefarzt des Spitals Heiden und Mitglied von PSR/IPPNW, Othmar Kehl, begrüsste die rund 50 Gäste. Anschliessend sagte Claudio Knüsli, Vorstandsmitglied PSR/IPPNW Schweiz, einige Worte zur Geschichte von Hiroshima bis heute. Ausserdem hoffe er, dass die Friedensglocke die Menschen wachrüttle. «Der Klang möge uns ermutigen, unsere Kraft für den Frieden einzusetzen. So etwas darf sich nicht mehr wiederholen. Dafür braucht es starke Proteste gegen die aktuellen Nuklearprogramme», sagte er.

Der Verein Schweizerischer Friedensrat verfasste ein Grusswort an den Hiroshima-Gedenktag in Wien. Dort findet jedes Jahr eine Gedenkfeier an diesem Tag statt. Ruedi Tobler, Präsident des Schweizerischen Friedensrates, las den Gästen den Brief vor. Im Brief steht, dass die Gedenktage zu Hiroshima und Nagasaki immer noch unvermindert aktuell seien. Denn trotz der vielen Unglücke mit Atombomben und Atomkraftwerken (Tschernobyl und Fukushima), die in vergangener Zeit passiert seien, «modernisieren» die Atomwaffenmächte ihre Atomwaffenarsenale und rüsten nicht ab. Nach den drei Reden durften die Gäste noch selbst die Friedensglocke läuten. Dann ging es zum Kino Heiden zu einem Apéro und dort wurde danach der Film von Aya Domenig gezeigt.

Ein Film von Aya Domenig

Domenigs Film heisst «Als die Sonne vom Himmel fiel». Die japanisch-schweizerische Regisseurin wandelt darin auf den Spuren ihres verstorbenen Grossvaters. Dieser hatte nach dem Abwurf der Atombombe als junger Arzt im Rotkreuzspital von Hiroshima gearbeitet. Normalerweise findet in Heiden nur eine Gedenkfeier am 9. August statt, also am «Atombombenabwurfstag» von Nagasaki, da aber in diesem Jahr dieser Film fertiggeworden ist, werden zwei Gedenkfeiern durchgeführt. Die zweite findet dann morgen statt. Um 10.45 Uhr startet die Veranstaltung beim Henry-Dunant-Museum.

Japanische Friedensbotschafter

Ab Mitte August sind 22 Studenten und elf Erwachsene aus Japan in der Schweiz zu Gast. Unter dem Namen Nagasaki-Friedensbotschafter (Nagasaki Peace Messengers) besuchen sie zuerst Genf. Die jungen Leute sammeln auf der ganzen Welt Unterschriften für die nukleare Abrüstung. Sie kämpfen für eine friedliche Welt ohne Nuklearwaffen.

Die Studenten sind am 17. August zu Besuch an der Kantonsschule in Trogen und einen Tag später bei der Friedensglocke in Heiden.

Time to rethink NATO (the Hill, 8.07.2016)

veröffentlicht um 27.07.2016, 00:18 von Claudia Bürgler

By Medea Benjamin and Alice Slater. Original article: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/286917-time-to-rethink-nato

Donald Trump angered the D.C. establishment when he said that NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, may be obsolete and the U.S. should reassess its spending on the alliance. Hillary Clinton has used Trump’s comments as another example that he is a dangerous, loose cannon. But Trump has brought up an issue worth exploring and this month, when NATO will hold its Annual Summit in Warsaw, Poland on July 8-9, is an excellent opportunity to do so. Indeed, activists are planning to show up on in Warsaw during the Summit and in New York City there will be a demonstration on July 9 in Times Square.

Formed in the  early years of the Cold War, 1949, with the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, UK, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France, by 1952 this post-WWII alliance included Greece and Turkey, and had rejected the Soviet Union’s request to join.  In 1956, when West Germany was admitted to NATO membership, the USSR formed the Warsaw Pact in response and the Cold War was then on, full-blown.  Missiles and nuclear weapons from each side pointed menacingly at each other, with the United States parking nuclear weapons in five NATO countries (Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Turkey), where they remain to this day.  NATO doctrine provides that nuclear weapons will be used if necessary, at will, on behalf of all its members.   

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After the Berlin wall fell in 1989 and Gorbachev miraculously let go of all the Soviet-occupied Eastern European countries, dissolving the Warsaw Pact without a shot, the U.S. promised Gorbachev that if he didn’t object to East Germany’s inclusion in NATO, we would never expand NATO further eastward.  Russia had lost 27 million people to the Nazi onslaught during World War II and had good cause to fear a military alliance on its borders. Despite U.S. assurances to Gorbachev, today NATO has expanded to include twelve new countries in eastern and central Europe, including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and Croatia.  NATO now extends right up to Russia’s border, and has even been discussing membership with Georgia and the Ukraine.

One can only imagine what the response would be in the United States if Russia were to invite Canada and Mexico into its military alliance. Let us not forget how close we came to war when the Soviet Union put missiles in Cuba. And part of the deal President Kennedy made with President Khrushchev for their removal was to take US missiles out of Turkey. Then George W. Bush turned around and put the missiles back in Turkey in 1991, and they were only removed this year after huge objections from Russia.

Meanwhile, in 2001 the U.S. government withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty we had signed with the Soviets in 1972 and put new missile bases in Poland and Romania. Although NATO took no military action during the Cold War, during the first Gulf War it deployed forces for the first time, and then acted unlawfully when it bombed Yugoslavia without UN authorization. The UN Charter, devoted to preventing “the scourge of war,” allows nations to the use force only in self-defense when under threat of imminent attack, or when authorized by the Security Council, neither of which had occurred when NATO bombed Yugoslavia in the 1999 Kosovo war. Since then NATO has taken part in many military actions, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. But this year it has been particularly aggressive and provocative, conducting massive military maneuvers on Russia’s borders.

It is totally unacceptable to be taking these provocative measures when the U.S. and Russia have nearly 2,000 nuclear warheads on hair trigger alert, loaded on missiles, submarines and airplanes, poised and ready to fire in minutes. Next year, the Pentagon plans to quadruple military spending in Europe to $3.4 billion and begin rotating an armored brigade through Eastern Europe—in addition to extra NATO forces to be deployed to Poland and the Baltics. The U.S., the main force behind NATO, is already in a deadly proxy war in eastern Ukraine.

In June NATO launched the largest war games since the Cold War, involving hundreds of tanks and jets, as well as 31,000 troops from 24 countries. The war games in Poland included air-ground assaults and electronic warfare scenarios. Airborne units, infantrymen, medics, military police and aviation units have operated jointly throughout the exercise, which culminated in a massive live-fire event led by the U.S. military. A naval exercise involving NATO forces has just begun in Finland. Meanwhile, there is an ongoing “Saber Strike” operation in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

One can only wonder how, 25 years after the end of the Cold War, we find ourselves rattling our sabers, nuclear and conventional, in this untenable dilemma. Surely President Eisenhower’s prescient warning way back in 1961 that “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex” is a potent warning for today, more than half a century later. The time has come to spread the word about the dangerous mischief NATO is causing on Russia’s border. With the recent breakup of the old paradigm after the UK just left the European Union, there may be a new opening for change. It has been reported that Germany and France have been talking about ending the sanctions on Russia imposed after the Ukraine events and are now recommending a less aggressive posture for NATO. America too, could do its share to make good on the UN promise to “end the scourge of war” by ratcheting down the hostilities towards Russia and working for the abolition of NATO.  You don’t have to be a Donald Trump supporter to recognize that it is time to rethink NATO.

Top American Scientists Urge Obama to Take Nuclear Missiles off Hair-Trigger Alert

veröffentlicht um 27.07.2016, 00:11 von Claudia Bürgler

June 21, 2016.


More Than 90, Including 20 Nobel Laureates, Sent Letter to President Today

More than 90 prominent American scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and 90 National Academy of Sciences members, sent a letter to President Obama today urging him to take U.S. land-based nuclear missiles off hair-trigger alert. Maintaining these weapons on hair-trigger alert so they can be launched within minutes creates the risk of a mistaken launch in response to false warning of an incoming attack.

This practice dates to the Cold War, when U.S. and Soviet military strategists feared a surprise first-strike nuclear attack that could destroy land-based missiles. By keeping these missiles on hair-trigger alert, they could be launched before they could be destroyed on the ground. But as the letter notes, removing land-based missiles from hair-trigger alert “would still leave many hundreds of submarine-based warheads on alert—many more than necessary to maintain a reliable and credible deterrent.” 

“Land-based nuclear missiles on high alert present the greatest risk of mistaken launch,” the letter states. “National leaders would have only a short amount of time—perhaps 10 minutes—to assess a warning and make a launch decision before these missiles could be destroyed by an incoming attack.” 

Over the past few decades there have been numerous U.S. and Russian false alarms—due to technical failures, human errors and misinterpretations of data—that could have prompted a nuclear launch. The scientists’ letter points out that today’s heightened tension between the United States and Russia increases that risk. 

The scientists’ letter reminds President Obama that he called for taking nuclear-armed missiles off hair-trigger alert after being elected president. During his 2008 presidential campaign, he also noted, “[K]eeping nuclear weapons ready to launch on a moment’s notice is a dangerous relic of the Cold War. Such policies increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation.”  

The scientists’ letter comes at an opportune time, since the White House is considering what steps the president could take in his remaining time in office to reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons. 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

Orignalartikel: http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/Scientists-Hair-Trigger-Letter-to-Obama#.V5hdYY9OJPa

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