by John LaForge / NukewatchSo –
WORLD URANIUM WEAPONS CONFERENCE
John LaForge / Nukewatch
Hamburg, Germany (October 23, 2003) — The World DU/Uranium Weapons Conference was held October 16-19, 2003, in Hamburg, Germany. More than 200 participants represented 20 nations from five continents, which included Iraq, Afghanistan, Australia, Japan, US, Canada, UK, Sweden, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Algeria, and Cuba.
Over 35 speakers including scientists, medical professionals, Iraqi medical and environmental professionals, independent researchers, international legal experts, military professionals, a nuclear weapons lab whistleblower, a prosecutor for the International War Crimes Tribunal for Afghanistan, veterans and their families, civilians, NGO, and peace and anti-globalization activists presented their most recent findings and issues about the effects of these illegal weapons.
Iraqi scientist, Dr. Souad Al-Azzawi, received the internationally recognized “Nuclear Free Future Award” and prize of 10,000 Euros on October 12, just prior to the Conference. She presented her findings on environmental studies of depleted uranium (DU) contamination of air, soil and water in southern Iraq from the 1991 Gulf War.
Two days of presentations during the Plenary Session were followed by two days of workshops which focused on key issues: science, international law/organizers, and affected veterans and civilians. The workshops were planned to identify consensus on the issues, and to discuss strategies to develop further united international action plans. The Plenary Session was in English with professional simultaneous interpretation into German and Japanese.
Six independent filmmakers covered the conference and six photo exhibitions from four continents were presented. The exhibit included the latest photographs from Iraq presented by the renowned international Japanese photographer Takashi Morizumi. Videos and films on related topics were open to the public during the workshop sessions.
The Conference was streamed live to the Internet but unexplained server problems at Indy Media made access to the live-feed unavailable during the conference. The Conference will be streamed over the Internet again when the server problems are resolved, and the schedule will be posted on the Conference website: http://www.uraniumweaponsconference.de
A press conference held on Friday, October 17, was greatly under-attended by the mainstream media, which still seems to fail to grasp the significance of the issue. Stories on the Conference appeared in only a few media, mostly alternative or progressive. Conference coordinator Marion Kuepker in Hamburg said, “We believe this is part of the continuing cover-up of devastating health problems resulting from ‘depleted’ uranium (DU) weaponry used by the U.S., U.K. and NATO forces in Iraq, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. Today nearly 7,000 German soldiers are serving in contaminated regions in Kosovo and Afghanistan.”
Conference participants overwhelmingly agreed:
• The use of DU/Uranium weapons is, and has always been, illegal under existing laws (both international and U.S. military) and conventions;
• Future campaigns and treaties should replace “ban” with the term “abolition” of DU/Uranium weapons
• To support the independent International War Crimes Tribunal for Iraq in 2004;
• Environmental DU contamination and epidemiological evidence in southern Iraq presented by the Iraqi professionals established a direct link between DU and observed increases in radiation related diseases ;
• The Conference rejects the ICRP model for internal exposure to small radioactive particles, like DU, and recommends that the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) extend the 2003 model on low-level radiation to the analysis of the health risk from DU;
• There is an urgent need to establish an independent research and teaching institution, a “Free University,” to provide credible research results independent of the manipulations and funding pressures exerted by governments and institutions backing the nuclear lobby;
• UNEP and WHO should be pressured to become independent from the IAEA, which is recognized as part of the nuclear lobby, in order to conduct comprehensive screening in contaminated areas including isolating hot spots and decontaminating battlefields, testing grounds, manufacturing sites and military installations worldwide;
• Medical care should be provided immediately for effected military personnel and civilians.
Complete Conference resolutions and findings will be available soon at: http://www.uraniumweaponsconference.de
Nukewatch co-director John LaForge attended this conference in Hamburg. Contact: Nukewatch, PO Box 64, Luck, WI 54853, (715) 472-4185, Fax: (715) 472-4184. http://www.nukewatch.com
In Hamburg, contact: Marion Kuepker or David Kraft, Tel.: 001-49-40-430-7332, email firstname.lastname@example.org