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Towards nuclear non-proliferation

openDemocracy 50.50 covers the events and conferences that should be moving the world into a stable and permanent state of nuclear disarmament.

Historic UN vote to negotiate a Nuclear Ban Treaty in 2017

On 27 October, the UN General Assembly's Disarmament and Security Committee voted for negotiations in 2017 on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, with momentous consequences for Trident renewal.

Whose work was the inspiration for the first nuke-free country?

New Zealand was the first country in the world to pass national nuclear-free legislation. Marilyn Waring reflects on how Dr. Helen Caldicott’s influence culminated in the passage of the cornerstone of New Zealand’s foreign policy.

Will Nagasaki be the last use of nuclear weapons?

Will the pincer movement of international humanitarian initiatives to bring into force a universally applicable Nuclear Ban Treaty, and Scotland's desire to become nuclear free, render Trident’s successor impossible? Part 3. Part 1, 2.

Hiroshima: do the British Members of Parliament remember ?

When Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said she'd press the nuclear button during the July 18 vote on Trident, what does that mean on the 71st anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing? Trident Part 2. Trident Part 1.

From Hiroshima to Trident: listening to the Hibakusha

“Humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist indefinitely. How much longer can we allow the Nuclear Weapon States to continue threatening all life on earth?”  - Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of Hiroshima.

Trident in a time warp: party politics vs defence needs

As Britain and Europe reeled from Brexit Theresa May rushed through the vote on Trident replacement. Was this strong leadership or our human security being sacrificed to expediency? Part 1.

From Fukushima to Hinkley Point

The stories of people trying to revive abandoned villages left contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster raise concerns about plans for a new generation of nuclear power reactors in Britain, starting with Hinkley C.

What if? Security consequences of Brexit and Trident renewal

If David Cameron survives the result of the EU referendum, he may try to rush Parliament into a vote on Trident renewal in July. What is at stake for Britain's security?

Trident or the EU: which is better for peace and security?

Mutual security and deterrence with fewer risks has been a conscious, crucial, and underestimated role of the EU.  A Brexit vote would put this at risk and make Britain less secure.

Britain's boycott of the UN multilateral nuclear disarmament talks

With opposition to Trident growing, the British government has refused to join this week's UN multilateral nuclear disarmament talks on practical measures to build global security without nuclear weapons.

The UN: are development and peace empty words?

As governments adopt the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, their roles in producing and selling weapons that undermine development, peace and security are coming under scrutiny.

NPT: cornerstone of nuclear non-proliferation or stumbling block?

After the NPT Review Conference collapsed in disarray last week with disagreement over new proposals for a Middle East disarmament conference in 2016, humanitarian initiatives for a nuclear weapons prohibition treaty look like the only way forward.

NPT: nuclear colonialism versus democratic disarmament

A host of nuclear free states are claiming back their power to create the conditions for a much-needed legally binding agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons, moving beyond the NPT Review Conference.

Violence is not inevitable: It is a choice

In 1915 a thousand women met in the Hague to demand an end to war. A thousand women are doing so again this week. It is time the women were heard and their vision shared.

Debating the long and the short-term view of sexual violence in war

Sexualized violence is an issue of security.  It is also an issue of women’s equality and rights. It's imperative that we use the traction generated by UN Security Council resolutions to move forward.

Scrapping Trident: the holistic approach

This is a key moment in the long history of nuclear disarmament in the UK, and Nicola Sturgeon's tactics place women’s critical voice firmly in the debate.

The Austrian pledge to ban nuclear weapons

Driven by “the imperative of human security for all", Austria pledged at the HINW conference to work to "stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks”.

Nuclear survivors' testimony: from hell to hope

Participants at the HINW Conference were screened for nuclear contamination yesterday, before listening to testimony from survivors mobilising for the abolition of nuclear weapons in what Pope Francis called "our common home."

Gathering speed to ban nuclear weapons

The Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons (HINW) opens in Vienna today, with arguments for humanitarian disarmament growing in strength. This time the UK and the US will attend. What will be the likely outcome?

A new generation: taking over the reins of nuclear abolition

The Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons (HINW) opens in Vienna today, with arguments for humanitarian disarmament gathering speed. This time the UK and the US will attend. What will be the likely outcome?

Guerilla woolfare: against the madness of mutually assured destruction

Rolling out a seven mile knitted pink peace scarf between the Atomic Weapons Establishment complexes at Aldermaston and Burghfield on Nagasaki Day may sound crazy. It isn't as insane as letting the UK government spend another £100 billion on building a new nuclear weapons system to replace Trident.

An alternative history of peacemaking: a century of disarmament efforts

Wars may be started for trivial or mistaken reasons, as happened in 1914, but they are fuelled by arms industries. It’s time to look at the alternative history of efforts to prohibit the weapons that feed wars, causing widespread humanitarian suffering.

A common vision: The abolition of militarism

"If our common dream is a world without weapons and militarism, why don’t we say so? Why be silent about it? It would make a world of difference if we refused to be ambivalent about the violence of militarism". Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace laureate, speaking at the Sarajevo Peace Event.

Nuclear non-proliferation in a time warp

The mood was cheerful as the international Non-Proliferation Treaty conference ended in New York last Friday, but the atmosphere was sustained at the expense of tackling the real world nuclear challenges. Rebecca Johnson reports from the conference, and examines what role the NPT really plays in today's world.

Banning nuclear weapons: point of no return

The Nayarit conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons demonstrated beyond doubt that preventing nuclear catastrophe is the responsibility and right of all. As Austria picks up the baton, the challenge will be to move forward in a process that is open to all and blockable by none

The UK government's stand against humanitarian disarmament

Why is the UK government boycotting a key multilateral conference on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons? Rebecca Johnson analyses the implications for British nuclear policy as governments and civil society convene in Mexico to take forward a new humanitarian disarmament process

To eliminate WMD we need to disarm patriarchy

Civil society must stop the use of chemical weapons being used as a pretext for US-led bombing in Syria. A gendered understanding demonstrates that the only sustainable strategy is to pursue disarmament and strengthen international humanitarian law.

New nuclear weapons for the UK: a challenge Labour can’t dodge

Labour could turn opposition to the billion pound Trident replacement into an electoral asset, but instead appears to be sleepwalking to oblivion. Rebecca Johnson makes the case for challenging Trident replacement, and says it's time to mobilise civil society

Pro-nuclear propaganda in 1983: lessons for 2013

In the UK, Labour's nuclear disarmament policies of the 1980s were not to blame for electoral failure, argues Rebecca Johnson. A sensible, fact-based debate about Trident replacement requires Ed Miliband to overcome the Party’s ‘electoral defeat traumatic syndrome’.

Trident Alternatives Review: the elephant in the room

The recent Trident Alternatives Review excludes any consideration of alternative means that might provide effective deterrence and more reliable security for Britain in the 21st century.  It's time for an intelligent public and political debate.

From banning nuclear tests to banning nuclear weapons

Sixty years after Britain’s first atomic weapons test, we need to consider the parallels between how the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was achieved in the 1990s and today’s nuclear challenges. The British government is, yet again, unable to read the writing on the wall, says Rebecca Johnson

"I protest": challenging the war policies of the United States

After serving in the US Army, and later as a diplomat, Colonel Ann Wright resigned her position in opposition to the US invasion of Iraq, 2003. She explains her opposition to the use of drones, and why any demilitarism plan for the planet must begin with the United States

NPT: toothless in the face of real world dangers

The core purpose of the NPT was security and the prevention of nuclear war, but the esoteric diplomacy of the current regime has become too far removed from the dangerous and messy world of today’s nuclear risks and ambitions. Rebecca Johnson reports at the close of the NPT meeting in Geneva

The NPT’s “unacceptable and continuous failure”: Egypt walks out

On April 29th Egypt’s diplomats walked out of the NPT Conference in protest at the lack of progress in establishing a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, thereby putting the NPT regime on notice. Reporting from Geneva, Rebecca Johnson analyses the reasons

NPT and risks to human survival: the inside story

Doctrines, deployments, and the political value attached to "nuclear deterrence" are being challenged at the NPT conference.  As 78 nations co-sponsor a growing "humanitarian initiative", the five NPT nuclear-armed states and some of their "nuclear umbrella" allies like Japan, Australia and Germany are in denial. Rebecca Johnson reports

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