Below please find a compilation I’ve prepared of some of the statements calling for Canada to sign on to the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. These statements have all been issued on and around the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, August 6th, 1945. Some of the statements recall the horrific impacts of that bomb on the civilian population as survivor Setsuko Thurlow relates while at the same time reflecting with joy on the adoption of the new treaty which she has worked towards and waited seven decades to see. Other statements speak to the achievement this Treaty represents while urging the Canadian government to reverse its rejection of the Treaty a position taken because of Canada’s role in NATO and its doctrine of nuclear deterrence. There is also an item referring to the operational aspects of the Treaty and reference to an online letter that can be endorsed urging Canada’s UN Ambassador to sign on to this treaty in September. .
In a recent article in the Globe and Mail entitled “Why Canada should sign the treaty banning nuclear arms”, Douglas Roche former Senator, Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament and tireless advocate for peace and nuclear disarmament notes that new hope emerged July 7, when 122 countries – 63 per cent of all countries – adopted, at the United Nations, a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons . The new treaty, he says, prohibits the development, testing, production, manufacturing and possession of nuclear weapons which have been unconditionally stigmatized as standing outside international humanitarian law. He avers that the majority of countries agree that the faulty doctrine of nuclear deterrence must be replaced with a sincere desire to build global security architecture without nuclear weapons which, he admits, will be a struggle of titanic proportions.
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom [WILPF] , Canadian section, in their statement below call out the government on its decision to distance itself from the Treaty negotiations stating:
“Poll after poll, going back decades, shows that the vast majority of Canadians strongly oppose nuclear weapons. It is therefore baffling that the “Canada is Back” government of Justin Trudeau chose to abandon the rest of the world on an issue of such vital importance to Canadians and people around the world.”
As Senator Roche has urged please consider asking your MPs and government to sign this treaty and also that they work to change NATO’s “dangerous nuclear weapons policies, by encouraging NATO to recognize its responsibilities to humanity, to press for comprehensive negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons and to put those responsibilities over the political doctrine of NATO .
This compilation may be useful by way of background knowledge for those not actively involved in the anti-nuclear movement who may wish to write to, call or meet with their MPs or other government officials in this regard. Please feel free to distribute as you see fit to friends, lists, organizations that might be concerned about this issue and benefit from the information herein.
Senator Roche encourages us to remember that Wilberforce, Gandhi and Mandela in their epic struggles to end the evils of slavery, colonialism, and apartheid respectively did not settle for half measures but all of them addressed the core of the social evils they faced. Nuclear weapons, he notes, are the ultimate evil and must be attacked at their very core i.e. their very existence.
WILPF reminds us that the nuclear age has shed a spotlight on our species’ alarming lack of wisdom. Referring to Robert Oppenheimer, dubbed ‘the father of the atomic bomb’ for his role in developing the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they note his words of admonition: “I have become death, the destroyer of worlds,” and recall that he spent the remainder of his life warning of the dangers and trying to put the atomic genie back in the bottle.
Ronald Wright in his 2004 Massey Lecture, “A Short History of Progress” warned about evolutionary dead ends the human species has inadvertently engineered which he termed ‘progress traps’. Wright says these are ideas or technologies that generate positive results at first but lead to deadly impossible ends. He sites the example of the evolution of weapons as a progress trap noting that while their use in the beginning meant a better food supply, the end result of progress in weaponry has been the hydrogen bomb which brings with it the threat of the annihilation of civilization and extinction.
However, to end on a more positive note, we can take heart from Senator Roche’s concluding remarks in his address “Nuclear Weapons and the Destiny of Humanity” delivered at the recent Canadian Pugwash Conference in Halifax:
“I would like to introduce another word … in our search to climb out of the present dilemma of finding a way to have peace triumph over war. The word “resilience” springs to mind, for it speaks of the human capacity to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune and change…
It is precisely because we are caught up in the machinations of political events playing themselves out that we need resilience to combat the weariness and discouragements of trying to break through to a nuclear weapons-free world. Those who led the humanitarian movement that has, despite the fierce opposition of the nuclear weapons states, produced the new Prohibition Convention, have admirably displayed resilience
“Resilience nourishes us, it sustains us, it enables us to stay on the path opening up before us. Resilience beats back fear. It animates us, increases our confidence, and strengthens us to persist in developing the policies we want society to embrace. Fortified with resilience, we never waver from our core belief: the elimination of nuclear weapons is the foundation for architecture of peace.
“This central idea brought the Pugwash pioneers to Nova Scotia 60 years ago. Humble followers we may be, but we stand on giant shoulders and it is our duty, indeed I would say our privilege, to continue the noble and vital work of turning humanity away from self-destruction.”
Janet M Eaton, PhD, Member of the Canadian Pugwash Group, August 6th, 2017
Compilation of Statements urging Canada to sign the New Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons:
Prepared by Janet M Eaton, PhD, member of the Canadian Pugwash Group, August 6th, 2017
1. Roche Calls on Canada to Sign the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and to Work to Change NATO’s “Dangerous” Nuclear Policies. Contact: Anton Wagner, 416-863 1209 firstname.lastname@example.org http://hiroshimadaycoalition.ca/
The Canadian government should sign the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and work to change NATO’s “dangerous nuclear weapons policies,” former Senator Douglas Roche told the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Coalition rally August 6 in Toronto.
He also called for two thousand people to hold a silent vigil for two hours on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, to express their commitment to a nuclear weapons-free world. A current Facebook campaign aims to have one million Canadians sending a message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sign the new Treaty when it opens for signature September 20.
2) Address by Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C. to Canadian Pugwash Conference, “Canada’s Contribution to Global Security,” commemorating Canada’s 150th and Pugwash’s 60th Anniversaries. Halifax, July 24, 2017. http://www.pugwashgroup.ca/nuclear-disarmament-67/579-not-destiny-but-resilience-achieving-a-nuclear-weapons-free-world
We are challenged to open this conference by considering “Nuclear Weapons and the Destiny of Humanity.” The title surely forces us to think anew about our work in nuclear disarmament. Since the human proclivity for the acquisition of power seems to have been ingrained in people since Adam and Eve, are we destined to have nuclear weapons forever? Or does the maturation of humanity, evident in virtually every field of human activity, lead inexorably to the universal outlawing of all weapons of mass destruction? Are we doomed or are we saved?…
As a Pugwashite imbued with the values of Jo Rotblat, I never want to lose my sense of hope that an enlightened humanity can fight back against the shrill voices of fear. It was, in fact, the humanitarian movement, composed of progressive governments and highly informed civil society activists, that produced the Prohibition Treaty. The Treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, manufacturing and possession of nuclear weapons. For the first time, nuclear weapons have been unconditionally stigmatized as standing outside international humanitarian law. That is an enormous achievement, and one recognized by the U.N. High Representative for Disarmament, Izumi Nakamitsu, who hailed the “historic adoption” of the Treaty as “a beacon of hope for all those who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of a nuclear-weapon-free world.”
3) Pugwash urges Canada to sign the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty
Jul 28, 2017 | Movement News |
A Canadian Pugwash conference, Canada’s Contribution to Global Security, on July 24 urged the Government of Canada to sign the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and “persist in its efforts to bring NATO into conformity with the Treaty.”
Canada, a NATO country, opposed the Treaty in a debate in Parliament, but the conference said the government should “change its own policies and practices” to put it in a stronger position to influence NATO to change its doctrine that nuclear weapons are the “supreme guarantee” of security.
4) WILPF Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
End out world’s 72 -year-nuclear misadventure.
On the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, peace activists across Canada are calling out the Canadian government for its recent boycott of the United Nations negotiations on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
We call for Canada to rejoin the international community, and put an end to the 72 year-long nuclear misadventure that threatens life on our planet if the use of the weapons doesn’t extinguish it first.
5) Letter from Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow asking for help in reaching out to our government to sign the newly achieved Treaty
No url available
At 8:15, on 6th August 1945, I, then a 13-year-old schoolgirl, witnessed my city of Hiroshima blinded by the flash, flattened by the hurricane-like blast, burned in the heat of 4000 degrees Celsius and contaminated by the radiation of one atomic bomb… A month ago, I took a part in a truly extraordinary event. On 7th July 2017, a majority of countries in the world adopted a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. I had been waiting for this day for seven decades and I am overjoyed that it has finally arrived.
6) ICAN – The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Hiroshima and Nagasaki Anniversary http://www.icanw.org/campaign-news/hiroshima-and-nagasaki-anniversary/
August 3, 2017
“A majority of the world’s governments now are ready to consider any use and possession of nuclear weapons unacceptable. The treaty will open for states to sign it at the United Nations in New York on 20 September, and we urge all governments committed to nuclear disarmament and international humanitarian law to sign this treaty,” says Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN.
7) ICAN – The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) About the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons
On 7 July 2017, the United Nations adopted a landmark agreement to ban nuclear weapons, known officially as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Here we answer some frequently asked questions about how the treaty will operate.
8) Write to your UN ambassador
On 7 July 2017 the United Nations adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. I urge you to sign this landmark agreement in New York on 20 September…