Monthly Archives: July 2009


Commemoration of the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995

At this vigil, we will remember the killing of between 7,000 and 9,000 Bosniaks (mainly men and boys) by the Bosnian Serb Army at Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina in July 1995.
We will be calling on the British government to ensure that Serbia is not permitted to make any further progress in the EU accession process until they arrest and transfer Bosnian Serb former General Ratko Mladic to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Ratko Mladic has been indicted by the Tribunal for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including for his role in the unlawful killlings at Srebrenica.


Taking Trident to parliament

some_of_us_outside_Parliament.jpg

On 2 July Trident Ploughshares activists working with Women in Black (London) joined together in a dignified and silent protest at the illegal and undemocratic decisions being made behind closed Government doors. Entering the lobby of the House of Commons at 2p.m. they stood displaying their t-shirts painted with their messages ‘DISARM NUCLEAR WEAPONS NOW’, ‘SCRAP TRIDENT’ and ‘STOP TRIDENT REPLACEMENT’ whilst waiting to lobby their MPs. The 15 protesters refused to move and were told that slogans on t-shirts constituted a protest and protests were not allowed inside Parliament. They were asked to remove their t-shirts or turn them inside out and refused to do this. They remained for 2 hours meeting with their MPs and making their visual protest in their quiet manner and then joined hands to end their protest and were escorted out of the main entrance.

You can read the press release here


Press release: Trident

PRESS RELEASE 2nd July 2009 PRESS RELEASE

Trident Ploughshares and Women in Black take their concerns about replacing Trident to Parliament

Trident Ploughshares activists working with Women in Black (London) joined together in a dignified and silent protest at the illegal and undemocratic decisions being made behind closed Government doors. Entering the lobby of the House of Commons at 2p.m. they stood displaying their t-shirts painted with their messages ‘DISARM NUCLEAR WEAPONS NOW’, ‘SCRAP TRIDENT’ and ‘STOP TRIDENT REPLACEMENT’ whilst waiting to lobby their MPs. The 15 protesters refused to move and were told that slogans on t-shirts constituted a protest and protests were not allowed inside Parliament. They were asked to remove their t-shirts or turn them inside out and refused to do this. They remained for 2 hours meeting with their MPs and making their visual protest in their quiet manner and then joined hands to end their protest and were escorted out of the main entrance.

Angie Zelter, one of the Trident Ploughshares protesters said, ‘The Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Geneva Conventions, are being breached by the UK. If our Government is sincere about trying to stop terrorism then it should get rid of its own weapons of mass terrorism and stop its preparations for mass murder, not update and replace Trident. Only a sincere and honest commitment to international law will bring the peace and justice the world needs to co-operate fully in solving the many crises, like climate chaos, that are confronting us’.

Liz Khan, from Women in Black London, said, ‘The government is taking fundamental decisions on the replacement of Trident in secret, behind closed doors. This is undemocratic. Given the current economic situation, blowing over £100bn on a useless weapon of mass destruction should surely be a matter for public scrutiny and debate. Our action today is part of the process of bringing this issue out into the open’.

For more information contact:-
Angie Zelter on 07835354652
For pictures of the event you can contact pressoffice@cnduk.org or you can download pictures direct from the TP website at www.trident ploughshares.org

Notes:
1.Trident Ploughshares is a campaign to disarm the UK Trident nuclear weapons system in a non-violent, open, peaceful and fully accountable manner. To date 2,252 Trident Ploughshares disarmers have been arrested leading to over 520 trials. http://www.tridentploughshares.org
2.Women in Black (WiB) is a world-wide network of women committed to peace with justice and actively opposed to injustice, war, militarism and other forms of violence. http://www.womeninblack.org.uk
3.AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment) Aldermaston is where the UK makes its nuclear weapons. It is where the warheads for the current Trident system were built and at nearby AWE Burghfield, the warheads are periodically refurbished, and then taken back to Faslane in Scotland. Now they have started work on the next generation of nuclear weapons. Since 2002, AWE Aldermaston has been building new facilities to design, test and build the next generation of nuclear weapons. The development plans are on the same scale as Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport. Despite opposition from people all around the world, who fear the start of another nuclear arms race, a new laser facility, which is able to recreate the conditions of a nuclear explosion, is nearing completion, and other buildings are planned or under construction.
4.Parliament was promised in 2007 that they would have ample time for discussion of the new proposals for updating Trident and yet decisions will be taken behind closed doors during the Parliamentary recess this summer. EDM 660. states ‘That this House recalls the commitment given during the parliamentary debate on the prospective programme for the replacement of the Trident system on 14 March 2007, Official Report, column 309, by the then Foreign Secretary, the right hon. Member for Derby South, that the Government would ensure regular reports to Parliament as the programme proceeds; contrasts this with the answer given by the Permanent Under Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, Sir Bill Jeffrey, in oral evidence to the Public Accounts Committee on 19 November 2008, when it was highlighted that the Ministry of Defence had announced its intention to conclude the Initial Gate decision in September 2009, during the parliamentary recess, that these would normally be decisions taken by Ministers; notes that the Secretary of State for Defence said in a written Answer on 10 December 2008, Official Report, column 341W, that decisions will be taken on the Initial Gate in autumn 2009 and that the Government proposed to update Parliament on progress after Initial Gate; believes this undermines the commitment made to Parliament by the Foreign Secretary in March 2007; and requests that the Initial Gate decision be delayed until Parliament is in session and can be presented with the report for scrutiny.’
5.Judge Bedjaoui (the President of the International Court of Justice when it gave its historic ruling on nuclear weapons in 1996) stated in May 2009, ‘I have been asked to give a personal opinion on the legality of a nuclear weapons system that deploys over 100 nuclear warheads with an approximate yield of 100 kt per warhead. Bearing in mind that warheads of this size constitute around eight times the explosive power of the bomb that flattened Hiroshima in 1945 and killed over 100,000 civilians, it follows that the use of even a single such warhead in any circumstance, whether a first or second use and whether intended to be targeted against civilian populations or military objectives, would inevitably violate the prohibitions on the infliction of unnecessary suffering and indiscriminate harm as well as the rule of proportionality including with respect to the environment. In my opinion, such a system deployed and ready for action would be unlawful. In accordance with evidence heard by the Court, it is clear that an explosion caused by the detonation of just one 100 kt warhead would release powerful and prolonged ionising radiation, which could not be contained in space or time, and which would harmfully affect civilians as well as combatants, neutral as well as belligerent states states, and future generations as well as people targeted in the present time. In view of these extraordinarily powerful characteristics and effects, any use of such a warhead would contravene international and humanitarian laws and precepts. In other words, even in an extreme circumstance of self-defence, in which the very survival of a State would be at stake, the use of a 100 kt nuclear warhead – regardless of whether it was targeted to land accurately on or above a military target — would always fail the tests of controllability, discrimination, civilian immunity, and neutral rights and would thus be unlawful’.
He went on to say, ‘The modernisation, updating or renewal of such a nuclear weapon system would also be a material breach of NPT obligations, particularly the unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear weapon states to “accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament” and the fundamental Article 6 obligation to negotiate in good faith on cessation of the arms race and on nuclear disarmament, with the understanding that these negotiations must be pursued in good faith and brought to conclusion in a timely manner.’