November 6: Global Protests Against Depleted Uranium
November 6, 2013
BBC News & The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons
Anti-war campaigners staged a "mass walk-on" at Scotland's Dundrennan artillery range to protest the test firing of depleted uranium (DU) weapons into the Solway Firth. It was only one part of an international day of action organized to publicize concerns about the serious health issues -- ranging from cancer to stillbirths and mutant babies -- resulting from the use of such weapons in war zones.
Dundrennan Depleted Uranium Protest Staged
SOUTH SCOTLAND (November 6, 2013) -- Campaigners have held a "mass walk-on" at the Dundrennan range in protest at the test firing of depleted uranium (DU) weapons into the Solway Firth.
It was part of an international day of action and followed concerns about serious health issues resulting from the use of such weapons in war zones. The last DU tests at the south of Scotland range were in 2008.
Earlier this year the Ministry of Defence said it had no plans to restart firing in the area.
One of the campaigners, Rachel Thompson, said the protest had been well supported from across Scotland and beyond. "We have found that depleted uranium is one of those issues people really do care about," she said. "They knew when they started that Scottish people did not want this to happen."
She said the protest wanted to make the link between that objection and the consequences of the use of such weapons in Iraq.
Five Reasons to Ban
Depleted Uranium Weapons
International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons
(November 6, 2013) -- To mark the International Day of Action Against Depleted Uranium Weapons, we’ve put together five good reasons to ban depleted uranium weapons. We would also like you to pledge to work with us during 2014 to help build on our success so far.
Given all that is known about DU and the typical response from the public to the thought of using radioactive and chemically toxic materials in conventional weapons it seems strange to have to list five reasons why states shouldn't. Nevertheless, here are five that the users of the weapons have seemed keen to avoid discussing during debates on their acceptability:
1. DU is radioactive and chemically toxic. An increasing number of laboratory studies have shown that as a material it is genotoxic -- it can damage DNA -- potentially leading to cancers and other health problems. The generation of DU dusts and the contamination of soils and groundwater ensure that realistic pathways exist for DU to get into civilians.
2. Users of DU have been unwilling to make data available on where DU has been fired and in what quantities. This lack of transparency makes assessing the risks its use poses to civilians very difficult. It also impedes post-conflict assessment and clearance.
3. States recovering from conflict find effectively dealing with DU contaminated sites extremely challenging. Huge volumes of contaminated scrap metal, soils and building materials must be dealt with. The radiation does not simply disappear and contaminated materials must be identified, separated and stored indefinitely. This places a huge financial and logistical burden on affected states.
4. Research from Iraq and the Balkans has demonstrated that DU munitions have been used against non-armored targets. The US and UK have always argued that DU is only for use against armored vehicles but the reality from conflict zones shows that the use of DU by aircraft and armored fighting vehicles results in buildings and other civilian infrastructure being targeted. The implications for civilian exposure to DU residues are clear.
5. Systems to monitor civilian health and exposure to environmental contaminants after conflict are usually absent, which allows states to dismiss or ignore reports from medical professionals on the ground. It is clear that DU exposure is a potential risk factor for post-conflict health problems and precaution dictates that it should not be used.
This time last year, 155 countries supported a UN General Assembly resolution that recognized the potential risks from DU. Just four states opposed the text -- the US, UK, France and Israel. It called for users to transfer targeting and usage data to affected states when requested to do so. Crucially it requested that states adopt a precautionary approach to the use of DU munitions.
ICBUW’s research report – Precuation in Practice -- has shown that DU’s indiscriminate nature and the persistent failure to adequately manage its post-conflict legacy have demonstrated that its use is wholly incompatible with any definition of precaution.
Still unconvinced? What would the response from the authorities look like if large quantities of DU were dispersed in London, Washington, Paris, Moscow, Islamabad or Beijing? Would it still be acceptable, would it still be harmless? Would we still delay action while we waited for more research to contamination in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Canberra, Ottawa or Madrid?
Next year, a fifth resolution will be considered by the UN General Assembly.
On this Day of Action we call on campaigners, states and experts worldwide to pledge to help us work towards greater progress towards a ban on DU and the help and assistance that communities living with its legacy desperately require.
DU Day-of-Action Demonstrations Around the World
Ban Depleted Uranium.org
Costa Rica: Campaigners and Parliamentarians Push for WHO Data Disclosure
Campaigners in Costa Rica are using the Day of Action to gather more support for a parliamentary motion calling on the WHO and Iraqi Ministry of Health to release the data on Iraq's rates of birth defects.
Scottish Firing Range Occupied by Depleted Uranium Campaigners
Activists from the Campaign Against Depleted Uranium are staging a mass walk-on at the Dundrennan firing range near Kirkudbright to protest at the MoD’s test firing of radioactive and toxic depleted uranium weapons into the Solway Firth.
European Parliament Workshop on DU and Toxic Remnants of War in Iraq
IKV Pax Christi's Wim Zwijnenburg will be briefing Members of the European Parliament on the toxic legacy of the conflicts in Iraq on Thursday 7th November.
The European Parliament's ad hoc delegation for relations with Iraq will be holding a meeting on 7th November to debate the environmental and civilian harm caused by the use of depleted uranium and the generation of toxic remnants of war during recent conflicts in the country.
The meeting will be addressed by IKV Pax Christi's Wim Zwijnenburg, author of last year's In a State of Uncertainty report, which considered the impact and implications of DU use in the country. The report highlighted the use of DU in civilian areas and against non-armoured targets.
A Permanent ad hoc Delegation for the relations with Iraq has been in place since February 2008 with the aim of establishing a regular dialogue between the European Parliament and the Iraqi Council of Representatives.
The two inter-parliamentary meetings, held in September 2008 (Brussels) and April 2009 (Strasbourg), highly contributed to uphold continued cooperation, by creating the necessary framework for open debates on priority issues, such as: the situation of women in Iraq and Family Law provisions, security and regional issues, refugees and EU cooperation assistance.
A great deal of interest is granted to enhancing cooperation in: education; health and environment; economy, investment and construction; oil, gas and energy; parliamentary development.
Finland: Protest against Depleted Uranium Outside Parliament 6/11
Women for Peace Finland, together with Uraaniaseet kieltoon ry will be protesting outside the Finnish parliament in Helsink on Wednesday 6th November.
Japan: Depleted Uranium Events this Month
Campaigners in Japan have arranged three events in Tokyo and Osaka as part of a month long focus on depleted uranium and its use in weapons.
Norway: WILPF Bergen Street Campaign
Campaigners from the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom have been running street events in the run up to the Day of Action.
Scottish Parliamentarians Praise DU Protest Plans
Thirty-two Members of the Scottish Parliament have supported a parliamentary motion congratulating the Campaign Against Depleted Uranium for its planned protest at the UK's DU firing range in Scotland.
UK: CADU Call Out for Action
On November 6th, the UK Campaign Against Depleted Uranium are organising a mass walk-on at the Dundrennan DU testing range, near Kirkcudbright in Scotland.