Australia MUST sign up to UN treaty banning nuclear weapons

Sunday 9  July  - Melbourne Australia - The historic treaty banning nuclear weapons, just adopted by the United Nations in New York, has the potential to reduce current tensions with North Korea. This treaty followed a three and a half week UN conference “to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

“This is the most positive step forward towards nuclear disarmament in decades. Nuclear weapons have finally now joined chemical weapons, biological weapons, cluster bombs and landmines as prohibited weapons of mass destruction.” said Dr Margaret Beavis, president of MAPW.  “These treaties make a huge difference. Many said the treaty on land mines would never work, but it has been surprisingly effective.”

 “North Korea would be more likely to join genuine negotiations if the other nuclear armed states acknowledge the need for global disarmament, and start to take concrete measures to achieve it.” said Dr Beavis.

 “This ban will add greatly to pressure for divestment from nuclear weapons companies, and stigmatise the nine nuclear weapons states who hold the world to ransom.” said Dr Sue Wareham, Vice president of MAPW.  “Even a limited nuclear exchange would not only have horrific and indiscriminate effects on enormous numbers of civilians, but also would be likely to  lead to a decade long nuclear winter, with major impacts on crop yields and global food availability.  It is critical that these weapons are not used. Their prohibition and elimination offers the best prospects of avoiding nuclear war.”

 “We call on the Australian government to be a signatory to this treaty. New Zealand has shown it is possible to be an ally of the US, without condoning the use of weapons of mass destruction.” said Dr Beavis

 “Both the ALP and the Greens support this ban treaty, as do the vast majority of Australians (75% support in a recent IPSOS poll). Nuclear weapons use is abhorrent and illegal, and Australia must show it is capable of acting independently on this crucial moral issue.”

 For further comment contact:

Dr Margaret Beavis         MAPW President   0401 99 56 99 

Dr Sue Wareham            MAPW Vice President 0407 924 152

Notes:

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) works for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction and the prevention of armed conflict. We promote peace through research, advocacy, peace education and partnerships. Please use our many resources on nuclear weaponspower and waste, peace and conflicts.

Our professional not-for-profit organisation has branches across Australia, and works globally through the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

 www.mapw.org.au