How to respond to UK government expanding the role and numbers of nuclear weapons
(March 21, 2021) —On March 16, the UK released its 2021 Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Foreign Policy and Development entitled ‘Global Britain in a Competitive Age’.
The review re-affirms the role of UK nuclear weapons to address chemical and biological weapon threats as well as nuclear threats, affirms new policy broadening the role of nuclear weapons to include the possible threat or use of nuclear weapons to address emerging technologies such as cyber attacks, and increases the cap on the number of nuclear weapons in the UK arsenal from 180 to 260.
We encourage you to respond to this development by:
1. Writing to the UK Prime Minister opposing the new policy and calling on the UK to commit to nuclear disarmament, scrap the UK nuclear weapons program and reinvesting the nuclear weapons budget in public health, climate protection and peace (Click here for a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament form letter to the Prime Minister);
2. Endorsing the Appeal for a Nuclear Weapon Free World [See below — EAW] which calls on all nuclear-armed States to pledge never to initiate a nuclear war, and also to slash nuclear weapons budgets to fund public health and the SDGs, and commit to eliminating all nuclear weapons — at the very latest by 2045, the 100th anniversary of the United Nations.
Questions Asked in House of Lords
Baroness Sue Miller, Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, responded to this development by asking the following questions to the government (HMG) in the UK House of Lords:
• What are the UK’s obligations under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?
• How the intended increase in the number of Trident Warheads will contribute to nuclear non-proliferation?
• What are the UK’s obligations as one of the three depositaries of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and how the UK complies with the UN Treaty handbook definition [of the responsibilities of the depository governments]?
• How will their intended increase in Trident warheads affect negotiations at the forthcoming review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?
Asia-Pacific Leadership Network Letter
The UK announcement has generated concern around the world, as evidenced by a statement UK Abdicates its Global Responsibility in Nuclear Weapons Surge released on March 19 by Hon. Gareth Evans, Chair of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network and a former Foreign Minister of Australia.
In the statement, Mr. Evans notes that the policy move by the UK, amongst other things, is ‘in clear breach of its treaty obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue nuclear disarmament, and will undermine any prospect for consensus at the forthcoming NPT Review Conference.’
He also notes that the move is ‘clear breach of its moral obligation to help eliminate the most indiscriminately inhumane weapons ever devised, whose use in a nuclear war would be an existential threat to life on this planet as we know it.’
Mr. Evans notes that it is time for the world’s nuclear-armed states to ‘recognise anew the force of the Reagan/Gorbachev declaration of 1985 that a ‘nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’, and to embark upon a serious program of nuclear risk reduction, including reducing weapons deployments, taking them off high alert, committing to No First Use, and — above all — reducing stockpile numbers.’
Both Baroness Miller and Hon Gareth Evans are endorsers of the Appeal for a Nuclear Weapons Free World [See next].
Protect People and the Planet: Appeal for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World
Global Appeal to end the nuclear threat, abolish nuclear weapons and shift the weapons budgets and investments to support public health, COVID-19 recovery, the climate and sustainable development.
The nuclear weapons possessed by nine countries threaten us all. Any use of these weapons by accident, miscalculation or malicious intent, would have catastrophic human, economic and environmental consequences. The use of just a small fraction of the 14,000 nuclear weapons in the world’s stockpiles could end civilization as we know it.
In addition, the $100 billion spent annually on nuclear weapons is sorely needed for environmental, economic and human needs, including addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting the climate and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.
We, the undersigned, call on our cities, parliaments and governments to:
- Affirm that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, and therefore the nuclear armed States should stand down their nuclear forces and affirm policies never to initiate a nuclear war (no-first-use policies);
- Commit to the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2045, the 100th anniversary of the United Nations;
- Cut nuclear weapons budgets (if they are a nuclear-weapon State), end investments in the nuclear weapons industry (all governments), and redirect these investments and budgets to support the United Nations, COVID-19 management and recovery, drastic reductions in carbon emissions to protect the climate, and financing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
This appeal to cities, parliaments and governments globally was launched on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, September 26, 2020, as one of the actions of #WeThePeoples2020
VIDEO: No More Nukes Teleconference. View online here.