January 2014 E-News

Happy New Year! 2014 has already been a busy year for peace and disarmament issues for WILPF, with meetings and events this week in New York on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and on women’s full participation in talks on Syria’s future. Next week, humanitarian disarmament campaigners will gather in Berlin for two days of discussions and workshops on how to affect change on a variety of disarmament issues. It’s a good start to the year and we look forward to the rest!

In peace,
Ray Acheson, Director

 Next stop: Berlin!

Ahead of the Nayarit conference on the humanitarian impact on nuclear weapons, campaigners from ICAN in Germany will host a conference on humanitarian disarmament, bringing together international campaigners from the various corners of the humanitarian world. On the 23 and 24 January 2014, campaigners will explore the link between humanitarian/development considerations and nuclear weapons, land mines, cluster munitions, explosive weapons in populated areas, small arms, killer robots and other inhumane weapons. The Sessions are part of ICAN’s overall strategy to make humanitarian disarmament one of the main themes of European states’ humanitarian diplomacy, and to link it to a process to outlaw nuclear weapons on humanitarian grounds. Register today to attend!

 And then on to Mexico

To continue the discussion from the Oslo conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, the government of Mexico will host a second conference on this subject from 13-14 February 2014 in Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit. This meeting will broaden the discussion about the damage and risks of nuclear weapons, focusing on the global and long-term consequences of a nuclear detonation. The draft agenda is available on the official government website. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is hosting a two-day campaigners meeting before the conference, and a debriefing after, for all civil society delegates registered to the official conference. The Reaching Critical Will team will be active on Twitter and will be providing reporting and analysis from the conference, so stay tuned!

 NPT: coming soon

The Third Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will meet 28 April–9 May 2013 in New York. The chair will be Ambassador Roman-Morey of Peru. Information regarding accreditation and registration, side event room bookings, NGO presentations, and materials distribution will be available later in January. Information will be posted on the RCW website and circulated via this listserv.

 Upcoming Events

Conference on Disarmament, Part One
20 January–28 March 2014 | Geneva, Switzerland

Berlin Sessions on Humanitarian Disarmament
23–24 January 2014 | Berlin, Germany

Second conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons
13–14 February 2014 | Nayarit, Mexico

 Featured News

Sister Megan Rice awaits sentencing in detention for nonviolent resistance against nuclear weapons

The 83 year old nun faces a possible 30-year prison sentence on charges of interfering with national security and damaging federal property, resulting from an act of civil disobedience she committed in July last year. Letters in support of Sister Megan can be sent to the judge in her case.

Obama’s nuclear modernization plan is collapsing

Among other things, the Department of Defense has officially “jettisoned” plans to design and produce the first of three proposed new “interoperable” nuclear warheads, the W78/88 Life Extension Program (LEP). Read more from the Los Alamos Study Group.

More trouble inside the Air Force’s nuclear missile force

An unpublished study for the Air Force, obtained by The Associated Press, cites “burnout” among launch officers with their fingers on the triggers of 450 weapons of mass destruction as well as evidence of broader behavioral issues across the intercontinental ballistic missile force, including sexual assaults and domestic violence.

Middle Eastern states talking but remain deadlocked on a regional WMD free zone

Israeli and Arab envoys met for the second time at a Swiss resort in November 2013 to confer on the agenda for regional talks about a possible ban on weapons of mass destruction, but some key differences remain, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

Motion adopted by the Dutch Parliament to end the nuclear task of the Netherlands by 2023

A motion proposed by member of parliament Van Dijk (SP) was adopted in which the Parliament agreed that the successor to the F-16 fighter jet may not have a nuclear task.

Red Cross and Red Crescent reconfirm commitment to a nuclear ban

The movement’s highest governing body meeting in Sydney, Australia, adopted a four-year action plan towards the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

Resistance to drones

In November, CODEPINK, The Nation Magazine, Institute for Policy Studies, Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Georgetown chapter of the National Lawyers Guild held a summit in Washington, DC, “Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance”. The summit featured speakers from Yemen, who told us first-hand accounts of life under drones. Watch the morning of the summit on C-SPAN, including Dr. Cornel West's inspiring opening remarks. Check out and share photos from the Summit on Flickr. Read this article by one of the Summit speakers, Marjorie Cohn.

UK completed destruction of its entire stockpile of cluster munitions

The UK has announced that it has finished destroying its entire stockpile of cluster munitions, more than five years ahead of the schedule set by the treaty that bans cluster munitions. The UK has also stated that it has “no plans” to retain any cluster munitions.

 Recommended Reading

Yousaf Butt, Too many cooks in the Iran nuclear kitchen,” Reuters, 14 November 2013

Lisa De Bode, “Sending a Nun to Prison to Die,” Al Jazeera America, 16 December 2013

Banning nuclear weapons: responses to ten criticisms, Article 36, December 2013