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August 2015 E-News

August marks the70th anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Newspapers, radio and TV stations, activists, and the general public commemorated these anniversaries. Hibakusha, the survivors, have shared with us their stories and we have remembered the lives lost on those days and the decades to follow. Yet despite this recognition, 16,000 nuclear weapons still remain today, which the capacity to inflict incredible horror on the world. Yet, a sense of change is in the air. The majority of states have pledged to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.” The big question remains, when will our remembrance be translated into effective action? Reaching Critical Will works with partners around the world in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) to demand a treaty banning nuclear weapons. It’s past time for governments to take the next step to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons forever.

In this edition:

First conference of states parties of the Arms Trade Treaty

Many questions remain unanswered as states parties and civil society prepares for the first Conference of States Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty. The rules of procedure for forthcoming meetings, the structures for implementation support, and mechanisms for reporting and transparency are all proving contentious ahead of the meeting in Cancun, Mexico. Reaching Critical Will will report on the proceedings daily in the ATT Monitorsubscribe now to receive it during the first CSP!

Space code of conduct negotiations

A process to begin multilateral negotiations on an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities was held in New York from 27–31 July. This process follows on from the consultation process led by the European Union in 2013 and 2014, resulting in a draft Code. While this draft formed the basis for the July negotiations, the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) pushed for the Code to be negotiated “in the format of inclusive and consensus-based multilateral negotiations within the framework of the UN.” At the end of the meeting, the EU reportedly agreed to UN negotiations of a new Code.

Explosive weapons political commitment to be discussed in Vienna

In September, Austria will host a meeting in Vienna to commence discussions towards a political commitment to end the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The UN Secretary-General called on states to support this initiative in his latest report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Since 2009 he has consistently raised concerns about this humanitarian problem, and asked states to take action. The International Network on Explosive Weapons has also been advocating for a strong political commitment on this issue since 2011 and is working with governments to stop the bombing of towns and cities.

Upcoming Events

Conference on Disarmament 2015, Part Three
3 August–18 September 2015 | Geneva, Switzerland

Arms Trade Treaty Conference on States Parties
24–27 August 2015 | Cancun, Mexico

International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition
30 August 2015 | Hiroshima, Japan

Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference
7–11 September 2015 | Dubrovnik, Croatia

UN General Assembly high-level debate
28 September–6 October 2015 | New York, USA

Keep Space for Peace Week
3–6 October 2015

UN General Assembly First Committee
6 October–9 November 2015 | New York, USA

Featured News

Twelve arrests at Trident nuclear submarine base marking the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings

Fourteen peace activists engaged in a nonviolent protest against the continued deployment and modernization of the Trident nuclear weapons system at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, 20 miles from Seattle, Washington, which contains the largest concentration of operational nuclear weapons in the US arsenal.

Private corporations are working on drone strike targeting

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has revealed that the US military has hired hundreds of private-sector contractors to the heart of its drone operations to analyse top-secret video feeds and help track suspected militants.

Fukushima executives to be indicted

A judicial review panel has decided that three former executives from the Fukushima nuclear plant will be indicted over the 2011 reactor meltdowns, which will be the first criminal trial linked to the disaster.

Recommended reading

Setsuko Thurlow, “70 years after Hiroshima, it’s time to confront the past,” Huffington Post, 5 August 2015

Len Ackland and Burt Hubbard, “70 years after Trinity, nuclear weapons enterprise prospers in New Mexico,” Sante Fe New Mexican, 18 July 2015