United Nations vote overwhelmingly for treaty to ban Nuclear weapons
A SCOTTISH mission to the United Nations to help secure a global treaty to ban nuclear weapons has hailed the overwhelming vote in favour by the world’s nations.
One hundred and twenty three countries voted for the ban treaty under resolution L.41, with only 38 opposing and 16 abstaining.
A Scottish mission – including SNP MSP Bill Kidd and led by organisations including Scottish CND – helped to lobby for the ban treaty after they were excluded from the UK delegation, which staunchly opposed the disarmament process.
Negotiations over the exact nature and wording of the treaty will take place next year, with nuclear weapons powers including the UK and the US expected to continue to disrupt the proceedings.
“There are many who consider that Scotland with its distinct legal system has rights and responsibilities under international humanitarian law to insist that nuclear weapons are removed from their country,” Janet Fenton
Janet Fenton, Secretary of Scottish CND and parliamentary liaison for the Scottish section of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), told CommonSpace: “This result at the UN in New York is a very powerful symbol of the feelings of people the world over that nuclear weapons aren't needed and aren't wanted. Only the arrogance of politicians in the nuclear weapons states stands in the way of a world without these weapons of mass-murder where real international security can be built.
“Brexit is not the only aspect of UK foreign policy that puts Scotland in democratic deficit in the global community as well as at home. In addition, there are many who consider that Scotland with its distinct legal system has rights and responsibilities under international humanitarian law to insist that nuclear weapons are removed from their country.”
Arthur West, Chair of Scottish CND, told CommonSpace that the UK Government still had to have pressure exerted on them during treaty negotiations, to prevent any attempts to hold up the process.
He said: “We very much welcome the vote and we’ll be working hard to ensure that the negotiations that begin next year are successful, but it’s tempered by the fact the UK voted against the moves towards the negotiations.
“The British government still need to have a lot of pressure put on them as the process moves forward.”
Nuclear armed powers lobbied hard to oppose the ban treaty, piling pressure on to countries in their sphere of influence, and were aiming to keep the number of countries voting for the ban below 100 in the event they could not prevent a Yes vote.
Their failure to do so means the pro-ban lobby, which is made up of the world’s non-nuclear states, goes into the negotiations for the treaty with a mandate for its ratification.
The world’s nine nuclear armed states – the UK, the US, France, Israel, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea – have consistently campaigned to keep international negotiations on nuclear weapons in line with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1970. The NPT leaves ambiguous the legal status of nuclear weapons and has failed to prevent their spread.
Nuclear weapons are currently the only weapons of mass destruction not banned under international treaty, due to the global influence of nuclear armed states.
Picture courtesy of Isriya Paireepairit
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