- by Denis Doherty and Hannah Middleton
- The Guardian
- Issue #2063
The 6th of August this year is the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Though Nazi Germany was defeated on 8th May 1945, the US dropped two separate atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th and 9th August 1945, leaving a legacy of devastation and radioactive pollution permanently poisoning lands, waters, and bodies to this day.
More than 200,000 citizens in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki died.
The lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have still not been learnt, as imperialism threatens the world with nuclear apocalypse in its desperate efforts to remain in power.
The Atomic Clock is closer than ever to midnight as the possibility of nuclear war looms closer in Ukraine, and with the West’s plans for war with China.
WHY DO WE STAND TOGETHER ON 6TH AUGUST?
- To remember the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- To demand Australia sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
- To demand the cancellation of AUKUS and the Quad, and to keep NATO out of our region.
- To remember the victims of nuclear testing at Maralinga, and Emu Plains in Australia, in Mururoa, Fangataufa, Eniwetok and many other Pacific islands, the Shoshone and Navajo in the US and many more innocent victims around the world.
- To remember that toxic nuclear waste destroys our environments.
Our annual resistance to the presence and use of nuclear weapons is even more important this year as we face the threats of Australia’s AUKUS deal and involvement with the Quad and NATO.
Indigenous communities have long been at the front lines of the struggle to stop the deadly nuclear legacy. Nuclear colonialism has ravaged communities and left a deadly legacy of cancers, birth defects, and other serious health consequences. It is the slow genocide of Indigenous peoples.
Between 1951 and 1992, more than 1000 nuclear bombs were detonated above and below the surface of the Nevada Test Site on Western Shoshone lands.
Between 1945 and 1958, 67 atomic bombs were detonated in tests conducted in the Marshall Islands. Some Indigenous people of the islands have stopped having children because of the cancers and birth defects their babies have suffered due to radioactive pollution.
From the 1979 disaster of Three Mile Island to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown, and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant melt down after it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami, the nuclear industry has been plagued with catastrophes with permanent global consequences.
Fukushima has been leaking approximately 300 tons of radioactive water into the ocean every day. The Japanese government is planning to release the remaining radioactive waters into the Pacific, despite widespread opposition.
TPNW – A WAY OUT
Today there are approximately 12,500 nuclear warheads in nine countries with almost 90 per cent of them held by the US and Russia.
It is estimated that 100 nuclear weapons is an “adequate deterrence” threshold for the “mutually assured destruction” of the world.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) offers the world a way out of this world destroying madness.
The TPNW prohibits States Parties from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, or stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
Signatories are barred from transferring or receiving nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, control over such weapons, or any assistance with activities prohibited under the Treaty. States are also prohibited from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.
Lastly, States Parties cannot allow the stationing, installation, or deployment of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices in their territory. In addition to the Treaty’s prohibitions, States Parties are obligated to provide victim assistance and help with environmental remediation efforts.
The treaty entered into force on 22nd January 2021, and nuclear weapons joined the ranks of chemical and biological weapons as WMDs proscribed by international law.
The Labor government has not yet signed the TPNW although the ALP adopted a resolution in 2018 committing it to sign and ratify the treaty when in government.
The International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms President is Justice C.G. Weeramantry, former vice-president of the International Court of Justice.
Weeramantry argues that nuclear arms are not different from the energy of nuclear reactors. Nuclear weapons and nuclear energy – the two pillars of the nuclear age – are connected.
He calls upon people to squarely face the grave problems common to both.
“Nuclear weapons and nuclear energy are the two sides of a Damoclean sword … The fibres of the threat by which the sword is suspended are being cut one by one through the increasing number of nuclear states, the availability on the internet of knowledge regarding nuclear weapons construction, the availability of materials from the waste of nuclear reactors, and the activities of terrorist organizations who would love to acquire a bomb. The sword of Damocles is being made more dangerous every day.”
Nuclear energy production is now claimed as a “green solution” to the climate crisis, but nothing could be further from the truth than this deadly lie.
Weeramantry states that nuclear power violates all principles of humanitarian law, international law, environmental law, and also international law related to sustainable development. This means that unless government authorities take immediate action to stop the construction of new nuclear power plants, they are committing crimes against future generations while being aware of the danger.
What is desperately needed is the worldwide abolition of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, a complete switch to renewable energy and democratising energy production.