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Nuclear disarmament: Greenpeace Champions the Marshall Islands
an article by Sandy Jones, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (abridged)

Greenpeace, the most inclusive, people-powered collective movement in the world, is lending its strong support to the Marshall Islands and the Nuclear Zero lawsuits. In doing so, they are sending a clear message to the world that it is long past time for the nuclear Goliaths to begin negotiations for nuclear disarmament.


Marshall Islands' foreign minister Tony de Brum

click on photo to enlarge

Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International said, “We stand with the people of the Marshall Islands in their fight to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Having seen their land, sea and people poisoned by radiation, they are now taking to task the nine nuclear-armed nations for failing to eliminate this danger which threatens humanity at large.” He continued, “Greenpeace salutes their struggle and joins them in declaring that Zero is the only safe number of nuclear weapons on the planet.”

“We are thrilled to have Greenpeace on board in this unprecedented effort,” said Rick Wayman, Director of Programs at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. “Their commitment to peaceful solutions and a better world could not be stronger, their bandwidth is huge and their ability to communicate creatively is unparalleled. Having their support will mean a great deal to the Marshall Islanders in their efforts to bring the nuclear-armed nations to the negotiating table.”

The Marshall Islands is a small island nation in the Pacific whose people have suffered greatly as a result of U.S. atmospheric and underwater nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s. Led by Foreign Minister Tony de Brum, this courageous nation is now at the forefront of activism for nuclear abolition. “After seeing what mere testing can do to human beings, it makes sense for the Marshallese people to implore the nuclear weapons nations to begin the hard task of disarmament. All we ask is that this terrible threat be removed from our world,” said Mr. de Brum.

On April 24, 2014, The Marshall Islands filed unprecedented lawsuits in the International Court of Justice and U.S. Federal Court to hold the nine nuclear-armed nations accountable for flagrant violations of international law with respect to their nuclear disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law. The lawsuits do not seek monetary reparations. Rather, they seek a judicial order to require the nuclear-armed countries to cease modernizing their nuclear arsenals and to commence negotiations for complete nuclear disarmament.

In a strong show of unity and strength, Mr. Naidoo has added his name to an open letter of support for the Marshall Islands lawsuits. The letter states, in part, “In taking this action, you [the Marshall Islands] and any governments that choose to join you, are acting on behalf of all the seven billion people who now live on Earth and on behalf of the generations yet unborn who could never be born if nuclear weapons are ever used in large numbers.” In addition to Mr. Naidoo, the letter is signed by Nobel Peace Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire, Oscar Arias, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, and Adolpho Pérez Esquivel and some 80 other peace and social justice leaders from more than 25 countries around the world. To read the letter in its entirety, go to www.wagingpeace.org/rmi-open- letter.

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'THE WORLD IS OVER-ARMED AND PEACE IS UNDER-FUNDED'

30 August 2012 — The following opinion piece by Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon has appeared in leading newspapers in Argentina, Bangladesh, Burundi, China, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, The Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and European weekly publications and has been translated into 10 languages.

Last month, competing interests prevented agreement on a much-needed treaty that would have reduced the appalling human cost of the poorly regulated international arms trade. Meanwhile, nuclear disarmament efforts remain stalled, despite strong and growing global popular sentiment in support of this cause.

The failure of these negotiations and this month's anniversaries of the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki provide a good opportunity to explore what has gone wrong, why disarmament and arms control have proven so difficult to achieve, and how the world community can get back on track towards these vitally important goals.

Many defence establishments now recognize that security means far more than protecting borders. Grave security concerns can arise as a result of demographic trends, chronic poverty, economic inequality, environmental degradation, pandemic diseases, organized crime, repressive governance and other developments no state can control alone. Arms can't address such concerns.

Yet there has been a troubling lag between recognizing these new security challenges, and launching new policies to address them. National budget priorities still tend to reflect the old paradigms. Massive military spending and new investments in modernizing nuclear weapons have left the world over-armed -- and peace under-funded.

Last year, global military spending reportedly exceeded $1.7 trillion – more than $4.6 billion a day, which alone is almost twice the UN's budget for an entire year. This largesse includes billions more for modernizing nuclear arsenals decades into the future.

This level of military spending is hard to explain in a post-Cold War world and amidst a global financial crisis. Economists would call this an "opportunity cost". . ...more.


This report was posted on December 20, 2014.