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First Minister signs call to ban Nuclear Weapons.



Wednesday 24th September was a busy day for disarmament activities at the Scottish Parliament.

First off, we had the First Minister. Nicola Sturgeon, signing the Global Parliamentary Appeal for a Nuclear Weapons Ban . This is an appeal form current parliamentarians for 'all national governments to negotiate a treaty banning nuclear weapons and leading to their complete eradication'.



This was followed by a debate, introduced by Bill Kidd MSP on 'The NPT, the Marshall Islands and the UK Government’s Failure to Meet its Obligations'

The background to this is that the Marshall Islands were used as a nuclear weapon testing ground in the in the 1940s and 1950s – leading to significant health problems for its population. The Marshall Islands government has now taken legal action against all nine nuclear-armed countries, in international and national courts, highlighting the alleged breach of Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)  and customary international law.

Many good points were made from the floor from members from  different parties about  Trident renewal and nuclear proliferation. John Ainslie of Scottish CND was thanked for his work on the subject and tribute was paid to the late Alan Mackinnon.

Finally, there was a meeting of event on to mark UN International Day of Peace and UN International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The discussion highlighted and supported the Humanitarian Pledge, initiated by the Austrian Government, which aims to fill the legal gap in the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, and now signed by 117 countries.

The event was organised by the Scottish Branch of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (SWILPF) with support from Scottish CND, ICAN UK and other members of the Scrap Trident Coalition.

The meeting addressed the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, including the particular relevance for women and girls, and examine the ways in which gender structures stand in the way of disarmament.

We were honoured to welcome Austrian Ambassador Alexander Kmentt, who was instrumental in initiating the Humanitarian Pledge at the Vienna Conference in December 2014, to speak about Austria’s leading role in the Humanitarian Initiative on nuclear weapons.

Other speakers were  Dr Claire Duncanson, Lecturer in International Relations University of Edinburgh, Mia Gandenberger, WILPF project Programme Manager with Reaching Critical Will in Geneva, and Rebecca Sharkey ICAN UK Coordinator.




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