Press Release: 28th October 2016

Huge Encouragement for Campaigners
Yesterday, to the delight of International Campaigners for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the First Committee of United Nations voted to put into place a conference in 2017 that will negotiate a Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, which like the Land Mine and Cluster Munition Ban Treaties will start the process of prohibiting and eliminating these most devastating of weapons of mass destruction.
The historic vote has been achieved in the face of fierce opposition from nuclear-armed states like the UK, and their dependents like the NATO states. The nuclear-armed states have boycotted the discussions and pressurised the smaller states to vote in the negative. The UK’s UN ambassador Matthew Rowland insisted that the UK has a democratic mandate to renew the Trident nuclear weapon system.
In contrast to their Westminster counterparts the Scottish government and parliament are in favour of the ban treaty. Bill Kidd, MSP and Co-President of the International organisation, Parliamentarians for Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament, said:
“This result at the UN in New York is a very powerful symbol of the feelings of people the world over that nuclear weapons aren’t needed and aren’t wanted. Only the arrogance of politicians in the Nuclear Weapons States stands in the way of a world without these weapons of mass-murder where real international security can be built.”
Janet Fenton, Scottish parliamentary liaison for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and Secretary of Scottish CND said:
“The importance of the change a nuclear weapons ban treaty will have for UK defence strategy and global politics cannot be overstated. The strong support for our open letter to Boris Johnson, and the similar letter sent by ICAN in London from UK peace organisations, will have gone some way to ensure that the UK Government is aware that the eyes of the world are upon them. The people of Scotland do not agree that the UK has made a democratic decision to renew Trident.
Brexit is not the only aspect of UK Foreign policy that puts Scotland in democratic deficit in the global community as well as at home. In addition, there are many who consider that Scotland with its distinct legal system has rights and responsibilities under international humanitarian law to insist that nuclear weapons are removed from their country.
The Conference that the resolution has agreed on will be convened over 22 days in 2017 and will consider the necessary legal instruments. Scotland, along with many others, will have its part to play in the work to be done.”
Contacts: Janet Fenton 07795594573   David Mackenzie 07876593016
More info: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/news/latest-news/11258-un-votes-to-outlaw-nuclear-weapons-in-2017
ICAN: http://www.icanw.org/campaign-news/un-votes-to-outlaw-nuclear-weapons-in-2017/