Around the World, Victim Assistance Comes Up Short

Current assistance programs for victims of nuclear weapons use and testing have provided compensation or other benefits to individuals in about a dozen countries around the world.

 Article 6 of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) requires states parties to provide assistance – “including medical care, rehabilitation and psychological support as well as…social and economic inclusion” – to individuals affected by the use or testing of nuclear weapons. All states parties with the ability to help are required to do so, not only those states where victims of nuclear use and testing live.

This review points to the following policy questions for when states parties to the TPNW or others design future victim assistance. It highlights that no single best practice exists and that much more work needs to be done to extend the benefits of these programs to all who have suffered.

1. Who does the program intend to assist and how does it determine eligibility?

 

 

While some programs only provide assistance in response to a radiation-linked illness, others support all habitants of an affected area or all nuclear test veterans.

 For programs predicated on an illness, there have been two general approaches for determining eligibility. One approach uses geographic and time-bound criteria to presume impact and eligibility. This approach is easier to understand and administer but draws hard categorical boundaries.

 The second approach measures exposure and the likelihood that exposure caused illness by examining demographic and behavioral factors. While this approach appears more equitable in theory, it raises serious challenges in practice. Further, the threshold for eligibility within the formula may be more of a political calculation than a scientific one.

 While the enabling statute of France’s program includes a presumption of causation, it also states that radiation exposure must cause more than a “negligible risk.” As a result, the French administering agency initially used a more technical approach to establish risk that resulted in claim approval rates of less than 10%, leading to widespread frustration. In 2017, the program was amended to remove the “negligible risk” language and, while questions still remain about program application, initial data show that claim acceptance rates rose above 50% in 2018.

2. Is the assistance monetary compensation or programmatic (e.g. health care)

assistance? Is it one-time or ongoing?

 

 Some programs have provided one-time financial compensation (United States, France, Canada, Fiji, Isle of Man, India), some provide ongoing financial compensation (China), some provide other ongoing benefits (Japan for decades, Australia only belatedly), and some provide a combination of financial and non-financial compensation (Russia, Kazakhstan, Marshall Islands).

Long-term assistance programs may better meet victims’ ongoing needs, but also require more robust program structure or bureaucracy.

 The TPNW calls for assistance that establishes or reestablishes social and economic inclusion of the impacted communities. Provision of health care or pension payments are positive contributions, but a more comprehensive assessment of individual and community needs may be necessary to meet this standard moving forward.

3. Does the assistance account for changing costs over time (e.g. inflation)?

 

Hanford Journey 2019, Yakama Nation Swan Dancers, photo by Kiliii Yüyan I Columbia Riverkeepers

For programs with one-time benefit awards, it is important to consider how costs may change over time. Under the U.S. program, the award amounts have remained the same over a 30-year period; general inflation has cut the value of these awards essentially in half.

4. Does the assistance account for multi-generational harm?

 

Alijan

 As first-generation victims from World War II and the subsequent era of nuclear testing age and pass away, the focus for victim assistance may shift to second- and third-generation victims. There is growing concern that the harm caused by radiation exposure gets passed down to future generations.

Kazakhstan provides healthcare for children born in affected areas, but no other programs recognize and compensate for the harm caused directly on second-generation survivors. Some existing programs provide benefits to family members in the case of death of the primary victim.

5. Are the benefits of the assistance distributed without discrimination across all

affected populations?

 

George Coleman : US Nuclear Test Veteran

Countries often started with benefits to veterans and then expanded to civilians, although some like China only provide veteran assistance.

 Most often, tests were conducted in close proximity to already marginalized groups, including colonized or Indigenous populations and some groups have received more assistance than others. Under the French program, for example, only one Algerian has received compensation over the last decade.

6. Does the assistance come with an explicit apology or assumption of moral

responsibility by the providing entity?

Only the United States has issued an apology, and only to its own citizens in 1990 legislation. To citizens of the Marshall Islands, the U.S. stated it had a responsibility for the nuclear tests but it did not apologize.

The United Kingdom refuses to recognize any health impacts from nuclear tests or provide any compensation. France recently recognized the involuntary contributions of French Polynesia to its nuclear program but has not apologized for any of its tests. Other countries have provided payment to veterans without accepting legal or moral responsibility.

While the TPNW does not legally require an apology (in part because it requires non-responsible states to provide assistance when possible), it is important to many victims and communities.

In summary, these questions raise important policy issues to be discussed and highlight shortcomings in existing programs. Looking ahead, the rights-based approach established in the TPNW should guide future victim assistance efforts, even for states not party to the treaty. It is important to also pay attention to the TPNW language that calls for age- and gender-sensitive assistance, given the evidence that shows women and girls are more affected by fallout. Policymakers must consider the questions raised above with input and participation from the directly affected communities themselves.

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons: ICAN statements at United Nations

During the UNGA event to mark the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, Mitchie Takeuchi delivered the following statement on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

For other events taking place in New York and around the world to mark the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, follow the live-blog.

ICAN statement to the High-Level Ceremony for the Signature and Ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Delivered by: Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
26 September 2019, United Nations, New York.

 Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues,

We find ourselves in this room in what is becoming a happy tradition on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. It’s appropriate that here and now you, Excellencies, step forward to take concrete action toward nuclear disarmament.

The calendar tends to align this moment toward the end of UN Leaders Week, often after the great bluster of the nuclear-armed states has dissipated. In the General Assembly some leaders deliver harsh words about “blood-lust” and even issue threats. That is not the United Nations at its best.

Away from most cameras we come together to do the actual work of nuclear disarmament. For the good of your people and the good of the world you propel the Treaty toward entry-into-force.

This work is often unsung, as is the work that led many into this room today and will lead more in the days to come.

It is campaigners, diplomats and politicians who stay committed to the TPNW all year round that lead to this moment, today.

In June, ICAN and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana convened a Caribbean Regional Forum on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to take stock of the Treaty from a regional perspective. This meeting was a vital contribution to our work to achieve early-entry-into-force.

Similarly, ICAN was invited to address the African Union Peace and Security Council and the ECOWAS Parliament on the TPNW. Last month, too, ICAN held a regional Forum on the TPNW for ECOWAS member-states. Our work in these regions is so important because those supporting the Treaty recognize a central truth about nuclear conflict — that the humanitarian catastrophe cannot be contained by political borders.

There is a vibrant and growing movement in support of the TPNW because responsible leaders understand that there is no corner of Africa, the Pacific or the Caribbean region, or anywhere remote enough to be immune to the threat of nuclear weapons.

 When India and Pakistan face off with their nuclear weapons over the disputed region of Kashmir, when the United States and North Korea point their nuclear missiles at each other across the Pacific, that poses inordinate risk to populations and environments located nowhere near the conflict zone. It is for this reason that we are already making plans to continue with these regional initiatives in the coming months and year.

There has been a surprising and inspiring theme running through the UNGA this week, largely due to the overrunning of the halls of power by young people. That theme is that where the status quo threatens to end humanity, silence is not an option. When it comes to the twin existential threats of our time, the threats of climate change and of nuclear weapons, nobody will be spared by a failure to act. And that means we must all act.

ICAN’s role is to ceaselessly tell the truth about the scale of the threat of nuclear weapons. Our job is to raise the voices of the people whose lives and livelihoods will be decimated by nuclear conflict. We cannot hold back about the humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.

At the same time, we must point the way toward solutions — not simply “Hope,” but also actions that will make a meaningful difference.

Today, in this room I feel the scale tilting toward the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. This day of action gives us all hope at a bleak time.

For those of you who are signing today, congratulations — you have taken the first step. We look forward to celebrating your ratification in the not-too-distant future. If you work quickly enough, you can be among the 50 states that enable this landmark treaty to enter into force.

For those of you who have ratified today, congratulations, you are making history. But don’t think that your job finishes here. We look forward to working with you to bring the rest of the world on board. Every last state.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will enter into force, and soon. Our journey has blown past the half-way point thanks to you. But we are absolutely not done yet.

Thank you to everyone in this room for your determination and unwavering commitment to solving one of the greatest threats to humanity.

 

 

ICAN statement to the High-Level Plenary Meeting to commemorate and Promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Delivered by: Mitchie Takeuchi

During the UNGA event to mark the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, Campaigner Mitchie Takeuchi, second-generation Hibakusha and granddaughter to the director of the Red Cross hospital in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing, delivered the following statement on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons:

Mr. President, distinguished delegates, and colleagues,

My name is Mitchie Takeuchi. I have the honour today to represent the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the 2017 Nobel Peace Laureate. I grew up in Hiroshima and my family survived the atomic bombing in 1945. I wish to share something of my own story and the importance of ICAN’s collective work around the world to usher in an age of the end of nuclear weapons.

In 1938, my grandfather, Ken Takeuchi, became the founding president of the Red Cross Hospital in Hiroshima. On August 6th he and most of his colleagues arrived a little before 8 a.m., which meant they were inside the hospital building before the first war-time use of an atomic bomb levelled my hometown. My grandfather’s request that they come early saved many doctor’s lives, so they could save more civilians that day. Although close to Ground Zero, the Red Cross Hospital withstood total destruction.

My grandfather remembers an enormous blast that caused a heavy door to fly off its hinges and knock him unconscious. When he came to, he was not able to move due to broken bones all over his body. His face also sustained horrible injuries. He had been carried to the outside of the main hospital building. What he saw defies description—unimaginable suffering, wailing and crying, dead bodies everywhere. It was complete chaos.

My 18-year-old mother was on the outskirts of the city. She survived the atomic bomb but was exposed to radiation as she searched for her father. She walked five miles through the hell-scape that Hiroshima City had become.

As we approach 75 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the risk of nuclear use is rising. The nuclear-armed states have embarked on a process to develop even more destructive nuclear weapons. They are tearing up arms control treaties.

Today, humanity faces not one but two existential threats—climate chaos and nuclear weapons. But an alternative future is possible. A future that drastically cuts carbon emissions and a future that eliminates nuclear weapons.

For the latter, this future lies with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In an increasing climate of risk, the TPNW offers an alternative path forward to the irresponsibility and irrationality of world leaders with nuclear weapons. It outlaws nuclear weapons for everyone, for all time. This treaty is the future. It will enter into force. More countries are joining the treaty at ceremony in this very building, at this very moment.

You, member states of the General Assembly, have the power to stand up for the rule of law, peace, security, human rights, and environmental survival. On behalf of the atomic bomb survivors, both living and already deceased, we ask that you support the TPNW by signing and ratifying it. As young climate activist Greta Thunberg said here at the UN this week, “the eyes of all future generations are upon you.”

 

 

 

Live Blog: International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons 2019

Today is going to be a big day. Follow the action (including a high level Ceremony in New York, where the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will welcome its newest signatories and States Parties).

September 26th is the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, and it’s going to be a big day. All around the world, ICAN campaigners will be marking the occasion with activities calling for the end of these inhumane immoral weapons, and promoting the UN Treaty that will end them. And at 17:00 EDT, in the United Nations Headquarters in New York, a high level ceremony for the signature and ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will take place.

Tune into the livestream here at 17:00 EDT ⬇

Tune into the livestream here at 17:00 EDT ⬆

For governments: Find more practical information about the Ceremony

The High-Level Ceremony will be hosted by Austria, Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa and Thailand, states which have historically been at the forefront of the process towards the adoption and entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Other events to mark International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

The UNGA will also be marking the International Day with a plenary event where nations and representatives of civil society will speak to the urgency of ending nuclear weapons for good. Campaigner Mitchie Takeuchi, second generation Hibakusha and granddaughter to the director of the Red Cross hospital in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing, will deliver ICAN’s statement.

 

 Tune in to the UNGA Livestream 

In addition to the events in New York, ICAN campaigners around the world will also be marking the occasion with a variety of activities. Follow the different events happening around the world:

A movement’s symbol for a world without nuclear weapons

From the semaphore signals for “ND” (Nuclear Disarmament), through a broken missile to a nuclear weapon locked in Peace, this is the history of ICAN’s logo.

On International Peace Day 2019, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is providing a sneak peek at its updated look and feel (which will roll out before the end of the year) and diving deep into the history of its iconic logo. 

The icon, a repentant nuclear missile locked in a peace symbol, was designed for ICAN by Australian artist Neil Campbell and inspired by the symbolic artwork of Peter Kennard and Gerald Holtom and the millions of people around the world who rallied behind the movements for peace and an end of nuclear weapons. This is a brief history of its origins:

 Eric Austen, first CND badge. Source: https://cnduk.org/the-symbol/1958: British artist Gerald Holtom designs a symbol for the Alderton march against nuclear war.The logo was a combination of the letters “N” (two arms outstretched pointing down at 45 degrees) and “D” (one arm upraised above the head) of the flag semaphore alphabet, and quickly became the symbol of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. But more than that, the symbol quickly travelled around the world, becoming an international emblem for anti-war movements, and universally associated with Peace to this day.

Read more about the origins of the Peace symbol via CND UK

 

Schematic illustrating the semaphore origins of the Peace Symbol. Read more on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_symbols#Peace_symbol

 

 

Peter Kennard: Broken Missile 1980: Peter Kennard’s Broken Missile.

This powerful piece of protest art – currently in the Tate Modern museum in London – quickly became a symbol for the movement against the modernisation of the Trident nuclear weapons systems. But above all, it became a symbol for the people’s power agains these inhumane, immoral weapons “ The Crushed Missile photomontage aims to show that it is only protest by the people that can stop the missiles of destruction. Presidents, prime ministers and dictators won’t wash their hands of nuclear weapons unless we campaign against them.”

Read more about Peter Kennard’s work and inspiration
Explore Peter Kennard’s impressive nuclear-disarmament art

 

 


2006: Australian designer Neil Campbell and ICAN Co-founder Dr Bill Williams create a logo for ICAN.  
Inspired by the iconic works of Holtom and Kennard, Bill & Neil created a logo for the newly founded organization that would grow into a symbol for a worldwide movement to promote a global treaty banning nuclear weapons.As Neil Campbell says: “This little visual message was designed by myself and Bill paying homage to, and expanding the life of Gerald’s remarkable symbol – whilst paying cheeky tribute to Peter Kennard … a team effort really.”

Read Neil Campbell’s full story about the logo’s history and significance (PDF)

Since its inception the icon has been freely adopted by partner organisations and campaigners across the world. At times it has been adapted for use on video, printed materials, products and banners, sometimes with slight alterations to colour and form (solid colours, outlines, etc) but the fundamental design remains.

 

 2019: ICAN’s updated look and feel

ICAN Logo 2019

After ICAN achieves a historic milestone in 2017, the successful negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and receives the Nobel Peace Prize as a recognition for its role in making this Treaty a reality, the campaign turns all its energies into achieving the Treaty’s rapid entry into force, stigmatising nuclear weapons, and empowering people all over the world to take action against them. In 2019, this includes working on an updated, consistent look and feel that reflects the campaign ICAN is and needs to be in order to end nuclear weapons, as well as modern, fit for purpose website. And this International Peace Day, ICAN is lifting the veil on that crucial component of any look and feel: the logo, which remains largely unchanged, in order to honour the long-standing history of this powerful icon, which has meant so much to everyone that has worked on this campaign over the years, and will continue to inspire and symbolise our work to end nuclear weapons.

Join the movement

Both the new look and the new website will be rolled over the coming months, but ICAN campaigners can already access the new styleguide on request.

The questionable legacy of India’s nuclear tests

For some Pokhran, India, residents nearby explosions are so common that one man said, “we don’t even register them anymore.” The villages near the Pokhran testing range are where the military tests explosives every day. But even with the constant barrage, two incidents stand out: the so-called ‘Smiling Buddha’ test of 1974 and the series of tests between May 11 to 13, 1998.

Pokhran Test Site I Government of India

The forgotten, tragic reality of underground nuclear tests

Starting after the 1974 test, rates of cancer and genetic abnormalities, birth defects or developmental delays, began to climb. In this region of Pokhran, it seems that nearly every family has a story of a loved one suddenly lost to cancer. Following ‘Smiling Buddha’, land and homes were destroyed, crops turned white, skin and eye irritation began, and soon diseases struck. The same occurred, but on a larger scale in 1998. The effects of radiation have compounded over decades in the villages because groundwater was contaminated. Residents ingest radiation from both the 1974 and 1998 tests and genetic mutations are passed through generations.

A village leader in Khetolei estimated that 56 people had died of cancer every year since 1998. The population is only about 3,000 people. The cancer mortality rate seems to be four times the national average. Children seem to be particularly at risk. Rates of childhood cancer and mortality seem to be increasing. Birth defects and genetic abnormalities, even in children born years after the tests, are common. There are many children who have never learned to walk or speak. High rates of breast cancer have also been reported. Unfortunately, this is to be expected: ionizing radiation, which is released in a nuclear explosion, disproportionately affects rapidly growing and dividing cells, which are generally found in women and children.

Despite nuclear weapons testing’s obvious health effects, the Indian government only provided compensation for land damaged immediately after the test. Multiple small-scale studies have confirmed that there is a dangerous health phenomenon near Pokhran. But there has been no government-accepted investigation and the villages must rely on their own estimates of cancer deaths and other illnesses. With no formal study, it is hard for residents to demand assistance because they cannot explicitly point to the nuclear weapons tests as the cause. 

Pokhran Residents by Neha Dixit

The global consequences of “limited and regional” problems

Underground nuclear tests, like India’s, were argued to be a safer alternative than atmospheric or underwater tests. That’s why the Partial Test Ban Treaty, adopted in 1963 by the US and the Soviet Union, banned all nuclear tests, except for those performed underground. One look at Pokhran and it’s obvious this is wrong. Even if no one sees the mushroom clouds, underground tests can still have the same devastating health effects as atmospheric tests.

The ongoing conflict between India and Pakistan is often perceived to be a ‘regional threat’. But a so-called “limited” nuclear war still has catastrophic effects — and those are rarely recognized when political action is taken in Kashmir and nuclear war is threatened. A limited war still destroys cities, kills thousands, and injures hundreds of thousands more. Furthermore, it would have environmental effects that would harm global agriculture, trigger famine, and place close to two billion people worldwide at the brink of starvation. 

The environment and communities near Pokhran have suffered without recognition or care. And the current political environment places them at risk again. The 1998 tests were ordered when the current political party was last in power. The recent changed political status of Kashmir has dramatically increased tensions with Pakistan and in Kashmir. India and Pakistan have gone to war three times before and it is civilians and Kashmiris who suffer the most. Now there is talk of war again, this time with mentions of nuclear weapons. This creates a scenario where the legacy of India’s nuclear tests reaches far beyond Pokhran and creates a global humanitarian catastrophe.

Check this out for photos of Pokhran residents, that speak a thousand words about the impact of nuclear testing.

These 7 peace activists face 25 years in prison for taking peaceful action at a U.S. nuclear submarine base

On August 7, 2019, the seven Catholic Peace activists facing up to 25 years in U.S. prison for their symbolic, non-violent action in the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in April 2018 are scheduled to appear in federal court for oral arguments. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons reiterates the call for all charges against these peaceful activists to be dismissed.

“What kind of world are leaving our children? Now is a good time to say, ‘Don’t go to sleep. Don’t think these weapons are props.’ We’re on alert 24/7.”- Patrick O’Neill, one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 activists.

What did the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 (KBP7) do, and why?

KBP7 defendants after their hearing

On April 4, 2018—the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination—a group of 7 Catholic Peace activists  broke into the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St Marys, Georgia, USA, which houses six Trident submarines carrying hundreds of nuclear weapons. Many of these weapons have up to 30 times the explosive power of the bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945. Once inside, the group defaced symbols and a monument to nuclear warfare and spray-painted anti-nuclear weapon slogans before peacefully giving themselves up to security personnel.

Read more about the action here.

Watch the Democracy Now interview with 4 of the KBP7 here. 

The KBP7 based their action on a sense of moral conviction and a sense of urgency to end nuclear weapons, drawing inspiration from Isaiah 2:4: “And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” This action continues a long history of similar non-violent symbolic actions around the world. Members of the Plowshares movement have symbolically “disarmed” nuclear weapons on at least 100 separate occasions since the 1980s.

As such, the KBP7 invite everyone to join global coalitions working to promote governments’ adherence to – and full implementation of – the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and other efforts towards a world free of nuclear weapons, such as divestment campaigns.

Who are the KBP7?

The 7 activists are all known as caring, generous members of their communities, aged between 55 and 78, they have spent decades standing up for the social good.

The KBP7 consist of Elizabeth McAlister ,78, of Jonah House, Baltimore; Fr. Steve Kelly SJ, 69 , of Bay Area, California; Carmen Trotta , 55, and Martha Hennessy , 62,  of the New York Catholic Worker; Clare Grady, 59, of the Ithaca Catholic Worker; Mark Colville , 55, of the Amistad Catholic Worker, New Haven, Connecticut; and Patrick O’Neill , 61, of the Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker, Garner, North Carolina.

Ahead of their hearing, and on the day after, they will be holding vigils outside the sites in Brunswick and Kings Bay Submarine to mark the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Read this powerful family history by Frida Berrigan– the daughter of  Philip Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister, members of the plowshares movement.

The INF Treaty’s definitive collapse: dawn of a new nuclear arms race?

Today, 2 August 2019, the governments of the US and Russia have missed a troubling deadline: the end of the six-month notice period that began when both countries announced their withdrawal from the INF Treaty earlier this year.

2017 Nobel Peace Laureate ICAN – International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – deplores the irresponsible destruction of the INF Treaty and calls on the United States and Russia to:

  •  uphold international law, including international humanitarian law;
  •  undertake urgent talks to restore compliance and fully implement the INF Treaty;
  •  make deeper cuts in their arsenals;
  •  and pave the way for nuclear-free security by joining the UN’s multilateral Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which was negotiated and adopted by over two-thirds of the UN General Assembly in 2017.

ICAN also calls on the leaders of all responsible nations to step up to end nuclear weapons, by joining the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) without delay. This Treaty, adopted in 2017, prohibits nuclear weapons altogether, including all related activities,, and provides all nations with a clear path to end nuclear weapons.  To date, the Treaty has 70 signatories and 24 of the 50 States Parties required for its entry into force. Countries that are serious about their commitment to nuclear disarmament should join the TPNW as soon as possible.

What is the INF Treaty and what is changed by its collapse?

 The 1987 INF Treaty was the first agreement between Russia and the US that eliminated entire categories of nuclear weapons. For over 30 years, both sides agreed to the elimination of all nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometre. At the height of the Cold War, the INF Treaty banned and eliminated over 2,600 of the most destabilising class of intermediate-range missiles, thereby pulling the world back from the brink of nuclear war and kick-starting further deep cuts in the two largest nuclear arsenals.

The collapse follows months of public disagreements between the two states about the allegations that Russia was violating the INF Treaty, and against the backdrop of a new nuclear arms race. When the US presented its intended withdrawal from the INF Treaty on 1 February 2019, President Vladimir Putin responded in kind by announcing Russia was suspending its observance of the Treaty, and in June 2019 both houses of Russian parliament voted to support this move.

With the collapse of the INF Treaty, the US and Russia are now free to build and deploy this category of weapons, which would fall in line with their seeming determination to kick-start a new nuclear arms race. The US alone is projected to spend $1.2 trillion in the coming 30 years to maintain and modernize its existing arsenal, and there have been indications that nuclear weapons producing companies are preparing to build nuclear weapons capable of striking within the 500 to 5500 km range.The collapse of the INF Treaty is a significant loss that puts the world – and Europe in particular – at increased risk.

 

For media statement and contact details

 

Further reading:

See it to believe it : US & Russia discuss possibility of new nuclear agreements, amid escalating arms race | ICAN

US withdrawal from INF Treaty put Europe (and the world) at risk | ICAN

Polls: Public opinion in EU host states firmly oppose nuclear weapons | ICAN 

Producing mass destruction : Private companies  and the nuclear weapons industry | DBOTB 


Young Tunisians Take Action on the Nuclear Ban Treaty

Between June 23th to 27th, Tunisian students met with parliamentarians, journalists and academicians in Tunis as a part of ICAN France’s new project “Nuclear Disarmament Competence Development in Francophone Regions”

Between June 23th to 27th, Tunisian students- Amel El Mejri, Mariem Oueslati, Lobna Bachta, Sirine Barbirou, Aziza hanafi, Nour El Imen Gharbi, Oumayma Jabnouni – met with parliamentarians, journalists and academicians in Tunis as a part of ICAN France’s new project “Nuclear Disarmament Competence Development in Francophone Regions” .

Where does Tunisia stand on Nuclear Ban Treaty? 

Tunisia was one of the 122 nations who voted in favour of adopting the Treaty of the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, but has not yet adhered to the treaty. Although, there is no objection to signing and ratifying the treaty, it’s only a question of time and “noise”, as the Tunisian diplomat told the francophone delegation at the NPT Prepcom last year.

Action by Tunisian youth!

Getting Parliamentarians on Board :

Left to right : Jean-Marie Collin (ICAN France), Mariem Oueslati, MP Meherzia Laabidi  , Nour El Imen Gharbi in the National assembly of Tunisia

Mariem Oueslati & Nour El Imen Gharbhi (Tunisian students), Jean-Marie Collin of ICAN France with MP Meherzia Laabidi at the National assembly of Tunisia.

The Tunisian students who met with Parliamentarians, over a series of meetings, engaged with them on the process of achieving nuclear ban through the treaty. They also spoke about the grave humanitarian consequences, if a nuclear detonation takes place somewhere in the world.

In the meeting with Mrs Meherzia Laabidi, President of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Tunisian youth that despite the hectic period between national insecurity and national election, she will push for the signature process with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Ms. Khansa Harrath and Mrs Meherzia Laabidi of the Defence Committee, also shared their support for Tunisia adhering to the nuclear ban treaty.

They also met with Mayor of Ariana, the association of Tunisian cities- L’Observatoire des communes- urging them to sign the ICAN cities appeal and speak up against the threat of nuclear weapons.

Left to right - Mariem Oueslati, MP Ms Khansa Harrath, Jean-Marie Collin (ICAN France), in the National assembly of Tunisia

At the National assembly of Tunisia with MP Ms. Khansa Harrath.

Conference coming soon : With the goal of encouraging more young people to be aware and take action on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, the nuclear ban movement and to push their government to ratify the TPNW, they planned on organizing an international conference in Tunis. The group met with  Ms. Neila Chaabane, the Dean of the Faculty of Political and Social Legal Sciences in Tunis, in this regard and got the confirmation for the conference to be held on 14th October this year.

Engagement with Media:

Left to right - Jean-Marie Collin (ICAN France), Ahlem Ghayeza (RTCI), Nour El Imen Gharbi, Sirine Barbirou.

Campaigners with Ahlem Ghayeza of RCTI Radio.

The group met with journalists of the national TV channels in Tunisia to tell them about the nuclear ban treaty and their campaign to get Tunisia on board to support it. They were  interviewed by Ahlem Ghayeza of the RTCI radio, who promised to set up a studio in the faculty to conduct interviews on the day of the upcoming conference in Tunis.

“For non-nuclear states, their only solution, their only weapon is to make sure this law (TPNW) is applied. It is the one, and the only way they can confront the threat that hangs over them constantly,” read the Op-Ed “The Denuclearization of the world? Tunisia also has a word to say” in Huffington post Tunisia written by these students.

Thank you, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung for supporting this initiative.

Warheads to Windmills : 3 ways ending nukes will help us solve the climate emergency

A recent report released by NuclearBan.US, “Warheads to Windmills: How to Pay for a Green New Deal,” shows how eliminating nuclear weapons will play a crucial part in preventing the worst of the climate crisis.The report is focused on the US in particular, but it offers a blueprint for all nine of the nuclear nations.

A recent report released by NuclearBan.US, “Warheads to Windmills: How to Pay for a Green New Deal,” shows how eliminating nuclear weapons will play a crucial part in preventing the worst of the climate crisis.The report is focused on the US in particular, but it offers a blueprint for all nine of the nuclear nations. Here’s what you need to know :

How are nuclear weapons and climate change related?

Nuclear weapons and climate change are both existential threats to the future of life on earth. Both can impact billions of people with catastrophic weather disruption, crop failure, famine, and mass migration.  Both can result in the end of civilization and the extinction of humanity.

Nuclear weapons are as dangerous as ever – and they are also a climate issue.  Scientists have calculated how much soot could be drawn into the upper atmosphere if these weapons were detonated on large cities like Moscow, New York, Beijing or London. They found that as much as 150 million tons of soot could be blasted into the upper atmosphere. This could lower global temperatures by as much as 7 degrees C (or 12 degrees F) for an extended period of time, plunging major food-producing regions of the world to below-freezing temperatures for several summers in a row and causing widespread famine.  Even a “limited” nuclear war could lower global temperatures enough to starve more than 2 billion people.

Unfortunately, the two potential climate catastrophes do not cancel each other out.  That is, a little bit of nuclear winter is not the antidote for a little too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But we can use one to solve the other, if we abolish nuclear weapons and shift the funding, brainpower, and infrastructure to green technologies. And this can be done, by  combining two profound solutions: the Nuclear Ban Treaty & a Green New Deal — swiftly, before it’s too late.  Warheads to Windmills offers a road map to get there.

Report launch in Congress on June 20th, with the endorsement of the Sierra Club and support of Representatives Jim McGovern and Barbara Lee.

Report launch in Congress on June 20th, with the endorsement of the Sierra Club and support of Representatives Jim McGovern and Barbara Lee.

 

How would scrapping nuclear weapons help achieve a Green New Deal? 

#1 BY MAKING FEDERAL FUNDING AVAILABLE

Right now, a staggering amount of US federal funding is going into the production, maintenance and modernization of nuclear weapons. This is not a capital investment in things that will bring a return of income at a later date — this money is turned into weapons that can quickly lead to an end-of-the-world scenario. These funds need to be plowed back into the economy to create millions of jobs in sustainable technologies.

How much money? It’s notoriously difficult to glean exact figures from government documents, but according to the report, in 2019, the best estimate is that the US alone is spending $54.8 billion per year. As it happens, that amount of federal funding is about what an effective Green New Deal would require.

#2 BY REDIRECTING TALENT

We need the best and brightest experts currently employed building nuclear weapons of mass extinction to tackle the climate crisis. To implement a Green New Deal, we need scientific, technical, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) expertise to solve the remaining challenges of sustainable energy generation, storage, and transport, and use.  However, in 2016, in the US, 5 out of 10 STEM graduates went to work with companies that design, build and maintain nuclear weapons.

We need these people to help solve the problems of climate change. Thus, scrapping nuclear weapons would mean the STEM talent currently wasted on obsolete and unthinkably dangerous nuclear weapons could be put towards building a sustainable and green future.

#3 BY FOSTERING INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

The United States, China, Russia and India account for more than half of the world’s total carbon emissions between them. Together with the other five nuclear-armed nations and their nuclear allies, these countries collectively emit nearly three quarters of all the world’s greenhouse gases.

The climate crisis requires unprecedented cooperation among all nations.  But countries are busy spending trillions of dollars on arms races and on “modernizing” their nuclear stockpiles and targeting each other instead of working together to solve the climate crisis. A significant first step toward the necessary cooperation would be to stop threatening each other with nuclear annihilation.

The nuclear countries will all need the money, skills and other resources going into their nuclear weapons programs in order to adequately address the climate crisis in their respective countries.  We need to improve international cooperation and cultivate the mutual goodwill of the major carbon emitters and nuclear weapons states to dismantle their stockpiles and move toward reducing their carbon emissions.

How would the US joining the TPNW impact a Green New Deal?  

 The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (Nuclear Ban Treaty) outlaws everything to do with nuclear weapons  It provides a pathway for multilateral negotiations toward global disarmament – not unilateral disarmament that would leave any country feeling more vulnerable than it already is. While the United States and the other nuclear-armed nations did not participate in the treaty negotiations and so far refuse to sign it, sooner or later, pressure from the rest of the world (and from within those countries) will force each country to address this lingering relic of the Cold War and eliminate its nuclear weapons. The need for global climate action makes this even more urgent.

The impact of the Nuclear Ban Treaty will be felt most immediately by the two dozen or so private companies that build, maintain and invest in nuclear weapons for the nuclear-armed states, as well as the financial institutions that support them.  The Treaty is the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons, and those who currently profit from them will need to convert to more socially acceptable products. The age of fossil fuels is also ending, so companies, investors, and governments must shift to sustainable products to help tackle the climate emergency.

And what about jobs?

A successful Green New Deal would create millions of good jobs in construction, forestry, operations, production, maintenance, research, engineering, design, and other fields.

The nuclear weapons industry currently employs a wide variety of highly skilled people.  The good news is that these skills can be fairly easily transferred to green energy innovations. For instance, a 2014 study in the UK mapped 170,000 people employed in making nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, and then mapped the 300,000 or more jobs that would be needed to build and maintain enough offshore wind farms and marine energy projects to put the country on the path to net-zero carbon emissions.  The study found that the necessary skills are similar, and that these workers could convert from one industry to the other without even having to move house!

These two maps show very roughly where and how many jobs there are currently in the nuclear weapons industry, along with where and how many jobs there could be by implementing a Green  New Deal. Take a look:

Nuclear Weapons Industry Civilian Jobs

 

Source: nuclearban.us 2019 

U.S. Renewable Energy Industry Jobs
Source: nuclearban.us 2019  

 

 

 

These are the banks and financial institutions investing $748 billion in nuclear weapon producers

The new report “Shorting our security- Financing the companies that make nuclear weapons” by PAX and ICAN exposes how banks and pension funds are financing the companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons.

Today, PAX and ICAN have co-published a report showing how banks and pension funds are financing the companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons: Shorting our security- Financing the companies that make nuclear weapons. This is what you need to know:

1- The private sector is investing $748 billion in nuclear weapon producers.

Overall the report shows 325 financial institutions from 28 countries invested in the top 18 companies involved in producing nuclear weapons.

View the Full list

2- Just 10 companies are responsible for more than 50% of those investments.

These are the top 10 companies profiting off nuclear weapons: Vanguard, Blackrock, Capital Group, State Street, Verisight, T Rowe Price, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase Co, Wells Fargo, Citigroup

3 -The private sector is also looking to gain from the new nuclear arms race,

In addition to the growth in government contracts for the companies involved in producing, maintaining and updating nuclear weapons, investments by the private sector in these companies have also been going up since Trump took office.


4- Nuclear weapons pose a reputational and financial risk to investors.

In the last year, almost 100 financial institutions divested from nuclear weapon producers. Financial institutions like ABP, KBC and Swedish pension funds no longer appear on the full investor lists. Reasons for the change included the expected entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons (which will make all activities related to nuclear weapons – including investment – illegal) and the vocal opposition from clients and shareholders to these risky investments. Not only that, but there is a growing movement that puts attention into where money is invested. It is estimated that about 25% of all wealth on the planet today is invested in a socially responsible way

5- It’s time to take action: Call your bank.

Everyone can do something about the nuclear weapon threat. We made the Don’t Bank on the Bomb report to show investors that companies involved in producing nuclear weapons are risky business, but these institutions are most receptive when the message comes from those they are accountable to. The growing number of divestments shows that clients are succeeding in their demands for more sustainable and responsible investments.

“Every time someone asks their bank or pension fund about nuclear weapon producers, the riskier it gets to keep those types of investment on the books,” says Maaike Beenes, PAX researcher for Don’t Bank on the Bomb. “Smart investors want a low risk and a high return, and the more people that make it clear they don’t want their money anywhere near nuclear weapon companies, the faster those companies will be excluded.”

So will you make sure your bank, insurer and pension funds know that you don’t want your money being used to invest in nuclear weapons? Check if they’re on the list. If they are, it’s time to give Customer Service a call.

Check if your bank is investing in nuclear weapons

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