- by Hannah Middleton
- The Guardian
- Issue #2017
Photo: Dmitrij Rodionov – commons.wikimedia.org (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Sign the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons
Build a peaceful pacific
On 6th August, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, incinerating 140,000 men, women and children. Three days later, on 9th August, a second American atomic bomb killed 74,000 men, women and children in Nagasaki. Thousands more have died since then as victims of radiation from the bombs. This must never happen again.
Today, together with the threat of environmental collapse, nuclear weapons are the greatest immediate danger confronting our species.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says: “More than 13,000 nuclear weapons are being held in arsenals across the globe. In a world rife with geopolitical tensions and mistrust, this is a recipe for annihilation.”
Nuclear weapons continue to threaten the survival of humanity. The existence of nearly 13,000 weapons, ready to be launched without warning, poses an imminent threat to all.
All our hopes and plans for the future exist under the shadow of a catastrophic threat that could destroy all life on planet Earth. The only defence is to ban all nuclear weapons.
The Hibakusha (survivors) insist that: “Nuclear weapons are absolute evil that cannot coexist with humans. There is no choice but to abolish them.”
UN Secretary General Guterres said:
“the existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity must motivate us to accomplish new and decisive action leading to their total elimination. We owe this to the Hibakusha … and to our planet. […] The Hibakusha are a living reminder that nuclear weapons pose an existential threat and that the only guarantee against their use is their total elimination […]. This goal continues to be the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations, as it has been since the first resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 1946”.
SIGN THE TREATY
The Albanese Government must sign the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
The TPNW prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.
Nations are also obliged to provide assistance to all victims of the use and testing of nuclear weapons and to take measures for the remediation of contaminated environments.
The Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty in June declared: “We will not rest until the last state has joined the Treaty, the last warhead has been dismantled and destroyed and nuclear weapons have been totally eliminated from the Earth.”
BAN THE BOMB – SIGN THE TPNW
The overwhelming majority of the world’s nations have adopted the TPNW, recognising its humanitarian basis and the moral, ethical and security imperatives which inspired and motivated its creation.
To our shame the Australian Government boycotted the historic UN talks. But eighty-four per cent of Australians want the government to support these efforts to ban nuclear weapons forever.
Who will believe the Albanese government really wants peace and security if Australia refuses to join this historic effort?
Australia has joined treaties banning chemical and biological weapons, landmines and cluster munitions. Now it must sign and ratify the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
The former Morrison government opened the door for nuclear proliferation by agreeing to buy nuclear powered submarines. Australia must repudiate the AUKUS pact and replace it with a nonaligned and independent foreign policy.
The major component of AUKUS is the agreement to transfer US technology for nuclear powered submarines to Australia.
In addition, under AUKUS Australia will be further militarised and garrisoned with more deployments of US aircraft in Australia, more US surface and subsurface vessels in Australia, more joint war games, four new military bases, two new bases for the militarisation of space, greater co-operation in hypersonic weapons, cyber warfare, underwater systems, artificial intelligence, and long range strike capabilities, and support for combined military operations in the region.
Former diplomat Bruce Haigh says: “There has been a lot of poppycock about acquiring nuclear submarines and of having them built in Australia with a lead time to delivery of 20 to 30 years. Only child politicians and their puerile advisers would be prepared to swallow such rubbish.
“The submarine deal was always a smokescreen to get US nuclear armed submarines based in Australia …
“Where is the sense in spending over $200 billion in the face of a one trillion-dollar debt? The money would be far better spent on health, education and infrastructure.
“AUKUS is nothing more than a US takeover of northern Australia as an operational base against China. Australia has rolled over and the new Minister for Defence, Marles, has gone so far as to offer full integration of the ADF into US force structures.”
WITHDRAW FROM AUKUS IMMEDIATELY
From 1946 to 1996, the US, UK and France detonated 318 nuclear devices in the Pacific region in the Marshall Islands, French Polynesia/Te Ao Maohi, Kiribati, Australia, the US territory of Johnston/Kalama Atoll and Amchitka Island, Alaska.
Today the US is fighting to maintain its domination and control of the Pacific, pouring millions of dollars into “aid”, funding the Peace Corp’s return, establishing new embassies across the Pacific and appointing its first US Pacific Islands Forum Envoy.
The US, with Australian government complicity, is making war more likely by showcasing military domination in the Pacific with weapons and imperial violence.
The threat of armed conflict between the United States and China is growing, with unthinkable consequences for the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and the world.
Pacific communities are calling for an alternative future that replaces militarised security with genuine human security.
In Hawai’i, the Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-Violent Education and Action is calling for the establishment of a demilitarised Pan-Pacific Zone of Peace with redirection of “the massive expenditure of funds from war-making to serve humanity suffering from lack of food, water, and other unmet human needs amid a global pandemic, and expanding climate catastrophe.
“No More War and Training for War! Restore the Pacific as an Ocean of Peace!”
BUILD A NUCLEAR FREE AND INDEPENDENT PACIFIC
Military posturing in the Asia-Pacific risks nuclear war and the potential extinction of the human species. We must instead work toward global co-operation to address the threats of climate change, to build toward peace, life and coexistence.”
The lives of people around the world are at stake. We must not let those who make money and political status out of war win and start another horrific war.
We must insist that governments redirect their massive expenditure from war-making to serve humanity suffering from lack of food, water, and other unmet human needs amid a global pandemic and expanding climate catastrophe.
Human security is not based on escalating military spending and war games but on care for the planet and its inhabitants.
We have a responsibility to not be part of planning for a war in the Pacific that would only see untold human and ecosystem suffering and death. We call for a Pacific Zone of Peace
If spending on the military could provide us with peace, wouldn’t we have achieved that already?
It should be obvious by now that countries buying more and more deadly weapons systems in an escalating arms race does not create peace or security. It has not worked in the past and it never will.
It is time for us to join together and call on governments around the world to cut military spending, and to instead invest in the true needs of the people and the planet to build a just and sustainable peace.