“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.
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.
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”.
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."
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.
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.
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.
There are patriarchal reasons why
women are disproportionately made to suffer in wars. It should not be
surprising that women are disproportionately active in resisting and
challenging violence, wars and armed oppression, says Rebecca Johnson.
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
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
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.
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
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’.
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. Rebecca Johnson considers what the Review
missed and calls for intelligent public and political debate
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
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
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
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
As representatives of 189 governments meet to discuss
strengthening the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime,
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Kim Jong-un and David Cameron have provided
stark reminders of the continuing dangers that nuclear weapons pose to
human security. Rebecca Johnson reports from Geneva
build, target, deploy and fire nuclear weapons are not supposed to think about
the humanitarian consequences. They are not supposed to behave "like
women". But a growing number of nuclear free countries are doing just this,
and taking the lead in declaring it's time to outlaw these weapons of mass
network launches this week with the
twin aims of scrapping Trident and persuading the UK to join other governments
in multilateral negotiations to achieve a global treaty banning nuclear
weapons. If we get our strategies right, the peace movement can win this one,
says Rebecca Johnson.
Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, recent events within the Socialist Workers Party: all four cases show how socially powerful figures can benefit from a 'culture of collusion' perpetrated by those around them.
On the 25th anniversary of the first real disarmament
agreement of the Cold War, Rebecca Johnson looks back at how the 'people to
people' and 'women to women' peace campaigns helped to reframe Europe as our
shared home rather than the divided and militarised Cold War blocs
Meredith Tax raises significant
questions about feminist activism, political alliances and fundamentalism, but
her attack on Code Pink's campaign trip against the use of remotely-controlled drones in Pakistan is misplaced,
says Rebecca Johnson.
Climate change is a major security threat, but it can’t be solved with the 20th
century’s nuclear technologies. On her return from
meeting people trying to revive abandoned villages left contaminated by the
Fukushima nuclear disaster, Rebecca Johnson raises concerns about plans for a new generation
of nuclear power reactors in Britain, starting with Hinkley C.
PrepCom Review in Vienna closed by underlining the majority view that “any use
or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be inconsistent with fundamental
rules of international humanitarian law". In her final report from the NPT
Rebecca Johnson says that the next few years may see some fundamental changes
in how nuclear issues are addressed
society, the Non-Aligned Movement, and a cross regional group of 16 countries
have brought humanitarian consequences and international law to the Non-Proliferation Treaty
Review meeting in Vienna. This may be a potential game changer, says Rebecca
While the world
turns, nuclear weapons are modernised and
revalued in nine nuclear-armed states, causing a growing number of
nuclear-weapon-free countries to reassess their options for security. Rebecca Johnson reports from Vienna where diplomats are gathering to review progress on the 1968
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
The Fukushima nuclear disaster was both avoidable and inevitable. Nuclear technologies have too many inherent risks with widespread consequences to be a sensible choice for energy production, argues Rebecca Johnson
Feminist experience and input into the theory and practice of nonviolence has much to offer a new generation of grassroots Occupy activists. Rebecca Johnson reflects on the lessons of the successful Greenham Common protest
Women’s groups such as Women in Black have long led the way in challenging the mindsets and structures of patriarchal power and militarism, but men must recognise that they have the primary responsibility to make the changes, says Rebecca Johnson