Scottish Interest

SECURE SCOTLAND

4.30pm Tues 16 April – 2.00pm Thur 18 April

secure scotland logoThis is a chance for people who live here to develop a vibrant alternative vision to militaristic rhetoric around security at this turbulent and seemingly hostile time. Join the first event to to explore how Scotland can deal with risks at home, and contribute to peace and justice in the world.

Thanks to the Schiehallion Trust, Rethinking Security Network (rethinkingsecurity.org.uk) , Scottish CND and other contributors, our first event is a fully funded seminar for 20 in the peaceful and beautiful surroundings of the Allanton World Peace Centre with wholesome food in a simple setting and a chance to spend some time in the grounds and gardens talking and planning change.
This will allow 20 people, not only some elected representatives and researchers but a good selection of influencers from across a spectrum to join in an initial residential seminar which aims to inform and start a 3 year programme of action. We seek the involvement of civil society, academia, faith groups and community and cultural figures who can together consider real security,how things that make people feel safe can be put in place and who might do that. Please let us know if you would be interested in being involved, or if there are names of others that you think we should reach out to. Work is based at UN House Scotland, in Edinburgh. Our aim is new legislation, community and academic or civil society action and a network of individuals and groups to shift prevailing discussions on ‘Security’, away from toxic militarism, environmental degradation and patriarchal dominance and dealing with real threats experienced here in Scotland – naming them and providing impetus for change. The project also proposes to survey/audit what makes people/organisations feel secure and create a code of practice with all appropriate actors – faith groups, trade unions, community activists, peace groups.. We have three objectives, all aim  to develop peace and security:
•Identify cross-party collaborations for security that resist toxic adversarial politics, in
and beyond the Scottish Parliament.
•Make plans for some practical action for the well-being of the majority in Scotland.
•Identify and highligh the real security needs that Scotland faces

The  Core group is: Gari Donn (ED UNHS, UNAScotland Edinburgh University international education), Malcolm Spaven (Scottish Greens, author Fortress Scotland, aviation & defence consultant),Janet Fenton (SCND, WILPF,Acronym, former Scotland’s for Peace manager) David Mackenzie (former LEA Education Adviser & Principal Officer)

– Further info and contact securescotland@unhscotland.org.uk

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SCND SUBMISSION

House of Lords

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE CALL FOR EVIDENCE: THE NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY AND NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

Scottish CND have submitted the following responses to the questions posed

1. What is your valuation of the current level of risk?

A Chatham House 2016 report offered to the Open Ended Working Group of the UN on prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons concludes that nuclear weapons pose overwhelming dangers to global health, development, climate, social structures and human rights and suggests that human security and survival of the species is under threat from them.

The Atomic Scientists Bulletin have set the Doomsday clock rating for 2018, at two minutes to midnight (the highest level of risk since 1953), and agrees with Chatham House that accelerating climate change and the continued existence of nuclear weapons present an inextricably linked existential risk to life on earth. The possibility that nuclear weapons might be used through accident or deliberately is increased through reckless rhetoric, increased numbers of non governmental actors active in conflicts, especially where governments are fragile, and increasing technological developments that make nuclear weapons more visible and vulnerable to attack.

2. Ahead of the 2020 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), what are the biggest challenges facing global nuclear diplomacy?

Despite the adoption at the UN of a new treaty to provide a robust legal instrument specifying prohibition of nuclear weapons to complement the exiting nuclear diplomatic regime (The TPNW), lack of political will and inaction from governments who persist in reckless empire building and refusing to work together or address evidence-based assessments regarding climate and other global challenges present a huge challenge to progressing nuclear diplomacy. Governments must respond to the scientists and NGOs which can provide expertise and evidence. It must work with them to create legislation and co-operation to deliver the elimination of all WMD. Scottish CND supports an international approach to encouraging member states to sign and ratify the TPNW in order that it can enter into force as soon as possible, prohibiting nuclear weapons and leading to their elimination.

a. To what extent do states still view the NPT as relevant?

Nuclear-armed states that are signatories to the treaty are increasingly attached to security doctrines that they see as allowing them to maintain nuclear weapons and to forestall their obligations to disarmament under Article 6. Some consider that nuclear disarmament does not address today’s security problems, and advocate delaying disarmament until the risk is diminished, rather than recognising the urgency of disarmament in addressing the increased risk. Many other states, inside and outside of the NPT, see the TPNW as a critical component in facilitating the NPT in achieving its purpose. Scottish CND considers that, in becoming a party to the TPNW, the UK Government could fulfil its NPT obligations.

b. What are the prospects for other components of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, such as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT)?

Like the NPT, The CTBT has provided a useful step in stigmatising nuclear weapons and nuclear testing. Despite the CTBT not entering into force,(critical nuclear-armed states are not committed to it) it has had an effect in slowing down the arms race and altering the perspective that nuclear weapons use has legitimacy. Important lessons can be learned, and continued negotiation can highlight sticking points, and the progress made in overcoming them. But without the absolute prohibition which the TPNW could provide, important ground gained can be lost when member states limit or even withdraw their support from existing agreements (for example the INF). Scottish CND acknowledges the importance of these other components and strongly advocates that the UK Government takes a positive approach to preparing for the TPNW’s entry into force, especially because it has already an important place in the rule-based international regime and it has already had a significant impact on diminishing financial investment in nuclear weapons. Scottish CND hopes that the UK Government will engage in meaningful discussion of how the TPNW can impact on UK foreign policy in the next few years. At the very least, the Government should agree to attend future meetings of TPNW state parties as observers, and ensure that it provides such useful technical assistance in areas where it can such as verification. It should also consider contributions it may make to remediation in countries where the UK has tested nuclear weapons. The UK Government should maintain and increase dialogue with UN member states which are committed to the TPNW

c. How important are these agreements to the wider rules-based international order?

These agreements are at the heart of the accountability of governments, not only to the people that elected them or on whose behalf they govern, but in their shared responsibility beyond borders, to preserve and explore the acceptable boundaries of human behaviour without recourse to violence and the use of force. Scottish CND requests that the UK Government avoids misconceptions by participating and contributing to the processes and opportunities that the UN regime offers and ensuring that these are communicated clearly to the public.

d. To what extent does the existence of three nuclear armed states outside the NPT (India, Israel and Pakistan) destabilise the overall regime?

The overall regime has failed to achieve non-proliferation as far as these states are concerned because the nuclear-armed states have failed to deliver nuclear disarmament, leaving their argument that they need the weapons for their own security open to adoption by other states. If the existing NPT state parties were to take a position that the present state of global insecurity requires them to maintain and modernise their nuclear weapons at the 2020 Review conference it would seem very likely that other states would follow the example of India etc. Hopefully the existence of the TPNW may stop that from happening. The continued existence of nuclear weapons in politically volatile regions like the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the northern Indian subcontinent increases the likelihood of accident or use by governments or non state actors.

e. What prospects are there for a Middle East WMD free zone?

The best prospect for a Middle East WMD free zone lies in allowing and supporting negotiations between interested parties without external interference or military support. Scottish CND hopes for consideration to be given to the impact of UK investment in the arms trade in the region.

The United States

3. To what extent will the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, as well as US efforts to achieve the denuclearise of the Korean Peninsula, affect the wider nuclear non-proliferation regime?

Scottish CND regrets the US withdrawal from the Iran deal and considers that the UK Government should distance itself from US nuclear posture in the MENA and across the South Pacific region at the present time and instead offer facilitation to actors in the regions to participate in negotiations without self-interested influence from states outside the region.

Nuclear arms control

4. To what extent and why are existing nuclear arms control agreements being challenged, particularly the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), and what prospect is there for further such agreements? What prospects are there of progress in negotiating a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT)?

Challenging of these treaties puts us all at grave risk. Unfortunately, it is a risk that will persist as long as nuclear weapons exist in the world. Scottish CND would like to see the UK Government to take immediate and urgent steps to bring about dialogue and negotiation between treaty state parties, to make the best diplomatic efforts that it can to preserve these treaties while recognising their limited scope, and so to recognise the need to engage with the TPNW and the governments in the world that are working for complete prohibition of all nuclear weapons leading to their complete elimination.

5. What effect will nuclear renewal programmes have on the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime? To what extent could technological developments—including in missile capabilities, warhead strength, and verification—undermine existing non-proliferation and arms control agreements?

Modernisation of nuclear arsenals carries a cost to other government programmes, involves automated systems that carry an inherent risk through lack of possibility for human intervention at an early stage in failure, and heralds the start of a new arms race. Planning upgrades rather than elimination might be seen as unwillingness to consider disarmament at all, a view that is reinforced when nuclear-armed states have governments that project a volatile and unpredictable political world order.

New technologies

6. To what extent will technological developments, both directly relating to nuclear weapons and in the wider defence and security sphere, affect nuclear diplomacy?

New technologies and detection capability mean that the policies of neither confirming or denying the presence of nuclear weapons, along with maintaining their invisibility and the invisibilities of (for example) submarines carrying them can no longer be relied upon. The unpredictable rate of climate change and some of its effects, mean the possibility of nuclear activity triggering uncontrollable global impact cannot be accurately predicted. It will become increasingly difficult for trust to be maintained amongst so many unknown elements that diplomacy will be compromised.

The development of drones, and cyber warfare methods and activity by non state actors mean that the use of nuclear weapons without state sanction is increased. There is no ‘safe pair of hands’.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

7. If it were to enter into force, how would the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (commonly referred to as the Ban Treaty) affect efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and bring about disarmament?

The history of efforts towards elimination of weapons shows that prohibition has a huge impact on indiscriminate weapons losing their political and reputational status and being seen as shameful and unacceptable. This will make their acquisition, and therefore proliferation, a very unattractive proposition. This process has already started with the TPNW, with over 50 major international financial institutions already divested from nuclear weapons since the TPNW was adopted. The negotiations for the TPNW also flagged up the democratic deficit in nuclear weapons policies globally, and the treaty’s highlighting the disproportionate impact on women and girls will increasingly inform decision makers across the world when the treaty comes into force. State parties will reconsider their alliances, and when threatening to use nuclear weapons is widely regarded as a breach of International Humanitarian Law, it will be difficult to reference nuclear deterrence as a legitimate form of defence

The P5

8. What are the policies of other P5 countries (China, France, Russia and the United States), and the UK’s other partners, on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and on nuclear weapons more generally? Have these policies changed, and if so, why? How effective has the P5 process been, and what role will it have in the future?

Member states in the P5 hold differing positions on aspects of nuclear diplomatic ideology, for example different stances on negative security assurances. It is difficult to gain a real understanding of what these differences mean or what they offer without a far greater degree of transparency and discussion than is presently allowed. The consensus rules of negotiation have shut down questioning around these differences and blocked any exploration of new initiatives. Blocks have even prevented any clear outcome record following meetings of the state parties.

The role of the UK

9. How effective a role has the UK played in global nuclear diplomacy in recent years? How could the UK more effectively engage on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament? What should the UK Government’s priorities be ahead of the 2020 NPT Review Conference?

The UK Government’s backing of the US threats to withdraw from the INF – and UK participation in the US-led inappropriate and undignified behaviour outside a UN conference (to which all of the P5 states had been invited) reduces UK credibility on the global stage as a state with a commitment to nuclear disarmament, as resolved in the UN General Assembly’s first resolution. It has partly redeemed itself in supporting the EU’s blocking statute on US withdrawal from the JOCPT. Scottish CND would welcome the UK Government making an unambiguous commitment to the NPT, including Article 6 regardless of any US position. We would also like to see the UK recognise the TPNW and work in preparation for its impact and its possible entry into force around the start of the NPT Review Conference in 2020. At this year’s final Preparatory Committee meeting in advance of the NPT Review Conference, we would like to see the UK ensure representation at Ministerial level.

From a Scottish perspective, the UK has misrepresented and disregarded the real concerns, questions and interests of not only the citizens of this country, but its elected representatives at Westminster, as well as the Government of Scotland and Members of the Scottish Parliament, while continuing to site and even planning to renew the UK nuclear weapons in Scotland. At the very least, The UK Government should include representation on a delegation to the NPT Prep con in May by at least one Scottish member of Parliament from Scotland’s majority party at Westminster plus a representative, elected or official, from the Scottish Government, to be selected by Scotland’s First Minister.

This submission was prepared on behalf of Scottish CND by Janet Fenton. Any questions may be addressed to janet@wordsandactions

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NAE NUKES 2018

Calendar of Events draft 3.jpgin addition to the Scottish CND demonstration on the 22 September at Faslane, a programme of meetings has been put together by the wider peace movement in Scotland to ensure that when our international visitors are here, we can all have real and useful dialogue to empower our shared effort to use the TPNW to end nuclear terrorism Download the programmeNAENUKESProgramme-1

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Briefing SINGAPORE CONFERENCE

Dr Rebecca Johnson, one of the women who took part in last month’s historic women’s walk into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which separates North and South Korea is bringing the Nobel Peace medal to the Scottish Parliament where she will talk about the upcoming summit in Singapore between Trump and Kim Jong Un.

The summit taking place in Korea will have the attention of the world and could be another turning point for progress on global nuclear disarmament. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for its contribution to the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and is focussing on ensuring that the implications of the treaty are well understood by those across the world who are watching and listening to the diplomats and the heads of state.

In Singapore this week, ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn, who visited the Scottish Parliament in March, will be joined by Akira Kawasaki from the Japanese NGO, Peace Boat, which belongs to ICAN’s core International Steering Group to issue a call for global nuclear disarmament, at a special news conference on Monday, one day ahead of the historic summit. Other leading figures from ICAN will be advocating for it around the world.
ICAN states that the summit should lead to North Korea’s denuclearization, and that it should serve as the first step for the US, and all other nations that possess nuclear weapons, to disarm.

The First Minister of Scotland sent a message to the UN Conference where the Treaty was negotiated in support of a sucessful outcome.Scotland’s opposition to nuclear weapons is seen by many supporters of the TPNW as a significant wedge that can be driven into the UK’s nuclear strategy.

Dr Rebecca Johnson is the founding president of ICAN in Geneva and serves on ICAN’s International Steering Group. She is the Director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy In addition to the Women Crossing the DMZ, she participated in meetings in Seoul in early April as a member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials and then spent 2 weeks at the UN in Geneva attending the NPT meeting held in May.

She is an expert on nuclear testing, authored the definitive book on how the CTBT was achieved, “Unfinished Business” and was an official scientific observer at on site inspection exercises at the former Soviet test site in Kazakhstan. She was senior advisor to Dr Hans Blix on the International WMD Commission, 2004-06, and holds a PhD in multilateral diplomacy and treaty-making. In addition to her academic and diplomatic roles, Rebecca is a former Greenham woman and spent a year in Scotland as part of the Faslane365 campaign.

Along with campaigners from Korea, Russia, France, the US, the Netherlands, Israel, Iran and Germany, she will be in Scotland at Scottish CND’s Nae Nukes Rally at Faslane on the 22nd September to amplify Scotland’s challenge to the UK Government to get on board with the TPNW.

To arrange an interview with Dr Johnson, please call Janet Fenton 07795594573

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NAE NUKES ANYWHERE

Scottish CND, one of ICAN’s partner organisations in Scotland, is inviting international campaigners to join them in a march and rally at Faslane, the UK’s nuclear weapons base sited in the heart of Scotland The aim is to to highlight the strength of support from many UN member states for Scotland, a country hosting nuclear weapons against its wishes and excluded from signing the Ban Treaty despite longing to do so.

Bea at Faslane

We want as many people as possible there to show the level of international support from ICAN campaigners everywhere, so that we can present a clear challenge to the UK Government to recognise the TPNW, decommission Trident renewal immediately and sign the Treaty.  

top of nnPeace Rally will take place at Faslane on the 22nd September 2018 and we will welcome campaigners from all of the nuclear armed states as well as from non nuclear countries, and of course we are expecting to see campaigners from every part of the UK converging on the site to make the message clear that its time for the UK to wake up and wise up.

The plan is to assemble at the Faslane Peace Camp, which has been home to disarmament campaigners protesting the base since 1982, at the South gate of the base. Then we will walk together from there to the main entrance at the North Gate. We can creatively decorate the fence with papers, ribbons and messages of hope and we can raise our banners and sing as we walk.

At the North Gate, we are planning a party atmosphere to celebrate the TPNW and to communicate our peaceful intentions to build a nuclear weapon free world. There will be music, food and drink (but no alcohol please!) and a stage and PA to ensure that everyone, including at least some of those on the other side of the fence, can hear what we have to say. International representatives will speak about how the campaign is faring in the other nuclear armed states as well as some input from those who have already committed to the treaty.

Unfortunately we cannot cover the costs of bringing you all here, but we can promise you that you will see some of the most beautiful parts of Scotland, you’ll get a great welcome and basic but warm hospitality. We will organise convergence centres so that people can find places to sleep, eat and get to know each other, and there will be some home stays available for those who need that. We are also hopeful that we can plan some smaller meeting and activities for international exchange during the week before and/or after so let us know if you could be in Scotland and are interested in helping us to do that

In 2006 the Faslane 365 campaign meant that the base was blockaded most days for a year with different groups taking part. Some of you were part of that, and although this Peace Rally is not planned as a day to risk arrest, the 22nd September can reflect some of the creativity that went into those actions, and like the Hiroshima lanterns that have sailed out and along the waters, take our message gently but clearly across the world.

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There are more details at our briefing http://www.nuclearban.scot/sep-rally/ and the face book event https://www.facebook.com/events/1790639821240340/ will be updated with news. There is in addition an interactive face book page for anyone who wants to make arrangements directly with other campaigners, although this is mostly local/UK traffic. You can see it here, https://www.facebook.com/events/406417883162380/ and you can also see updates on twitter, mostly from @scraptrident @scottishcnd The email contact is hello@nuclearban.scot or directly to me @janetfenton or janet@wordsandactions.scot 

 

 

 

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Achieving the Possible – a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East:

Vision, Process, the United Nations General Assembly and the 2018 Round Tables

 UN House in Scotland is to offer support for an initiative towards a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Middle East and for a Scottish Government contribution to this. The purpose is to ensure that this topic, and a way forward on it is on the agenda at the 2020 Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. The initiative is under the care of British American Security Information Council (BASIC), and led by individuals from within the Regiont.

Scotland’s part (in the first instance) is to facilitate and host an international closed door meeting under the Chatham House rule in a neutral location in January 2018.

Following the lack of progress on work for a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East at the 2010 NPT, in November 2013, the Israeli Disarmament Movement (IDM), alongside British and American Security  Information Council (BASIC)  and PAX,with the financial support of Green Cross, held a round table in Tel Aviv to consider possible ways forward. The objective of this first round table was to learn more about the language, rhetoric, thoughts, and even the fears of Israeli officials and others when it comes to this topic.

The round table was held with Israeli and international experts, Israeli foreign ministry staff, representatives of the Finnish and Swiss embassies, the Norwegian ambassador, and the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), a think tank with close ties to government staffed by former generals and government ministers, diplomats, and academics. This was the first time civil society had hosted such an event in Israel.

After a second, shorter round table event in Washington DC a year later, it was suspected that the main cause of the stagnation in the talks towards a WMD Free Zone is lack of good will and an inability to consider suggestions because of who was making them, rather than their actual content. It was decided to address this through an exercise of visualising what the region would look like, and how behaviours would change, if the treaty already existed. To this end a draft proposal for a treaty banning WMDs in the Middle East was written, without attribution, so that the ideas it contained could be considered on their merits regardless of where they came from or who had made them. This gave an opportunity to consider and describe the possible solutions to the difficulties usually aired, thus highlighting the need for dialogue instead of focusing on the obstacles.

A skeleton draft treaty, and an outline for an organization that could operate in the zone – The Middle East Treaty Organization (METO) – was delivered to international and regional experts during 2017 for discussion. Since any venue within the Middle East could be seen as holding a perspective, discussion should taking place outside the region was helpful. The UN sponsored meetings toward the negotiations for the new treaty on nuclear disarmament during 2017 provided several opportunities for this.

Bill Kidd, MSP and Co-President of Parliamentarians for Non proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament, was active at the negotiations for the Nuclear Prohibition Treatyand has actively presented a Scottish perspective to diplomats and other NGO representatives at the Non Proliferation Treaty Conference Review and its Preparatory Committee meetings. He has hosted and participated in meetings and events for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) at the Scottish Parliament. Scotland and the Scottish Government could usefully contribute to METO process.

Bill and I attended a meeting with BASIC, the Irish delegation at the TPNW Conference, the Israeli Disarmament Movement and the American Iranian Council in New York in July, at which the possibility of Scotland hosting the first round table outside of the region to consider the draft “Achieving The Possible” Treaty was welcomed. The Scottish Government cannot fund the event proposed, but it has given its imprimatur to the round table as a possible way forward in a seemingly intractable situation, and offers support and interest as far as is compatible with its obligations under the Scotland Act.

The combination of civil society organisations and both retired and active diplomats along with academics working together has been a highlight of the UN’s success in negotiating the TPNW and this is reflected in the process that is being adopted here. “Achieving The Possible” has the purpose of stimulating a positive, constructive conversation and keeping alive at the First Committee the vision of a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East. The draft treaty text is an initial basis to structure an inclusive and principled discussion of what may be possible once the political will is in place. The draft is not intended for negotiation but as a stimulus to replace indefinite debates about why progress can never happen with positive, constructive suggestions.

The Irish delegation at the United Nations General Assembly in New York hosted a Side Event for diplomats there in October which I attended with a remit from the Scottish Government. (thanks to a modest grant specifically for this purpose from Nuclear Non-proliferation Research allowed Scottish civil society observation at the event for the purpose of reporting back to the Scottish Government and to possible funders and other interested parties). It explained, launched and promoted the process of closed-door round-tables to take place outside the Middle East during 2018 where the draft will be developed and redrafted by high level regional experts with support from other diplomatic and academic experts. Speakers included Sharon Dolev of the Israeli Disarmament Movement, and Emad Kiyaei, Iranian policy adviser.

The Scottish Government is offering support for a first  2018 round tables scheduled for January , as it is seen as somewhere with a Parliament and Government that is interested in international peace and security. It is not at this time a UN member state and therefore does not have policies or any political agenda on security doctrines in the Middle East.

The task, in January 2018, is to provide support, and a neutral and safe space for delegates to map and address the obstacles and strengths that they see inthe draft treaty.

The Edinburgh-based UN House – established in 2012 through cooperation between civil society UNA Scotland/Edinburgh Branch and UN Agencies UNITAR, CIFAL, UNESCO and UN Women – has supported awareness raising on nuclear non proliferation, peace, security and disarmament. In 2013 UNA Edinburgh was instrumental in organising an International Conference on a Middle East Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction with speakers from Israel and Palestine,and high level diplomatic presence from Finland and Russia. UN House has an ongoing relationship with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in Scotland and is a partner organisation in ICAN and a member of the  Scottish Parliament Nuclear Disarmament Cross Party Group. It provides internships for young graduates and doctoral students with an academic interest in international relations, peace and security.

The round table is planned to take place behind closed doors at a neutral and safe space where delegates can meet and stay, and hosting organisations can provide facilitation. Scottish Government Ministers will be invited to meet and greet participants, and the follow- up media release (without quotations or participants’ names or titles, according to Chatham House Rules) will be issued from the Scottish Government office. A Scottish Parliament reception and Burns supper cand allow appropriate cultural exchange.

The Scottish round table is a significant step towards ensuring that by the time of the 2020 NPT Review Conference, there will be enough constructive attention, and official negotiation that will ensure the states in the region do not take dramatic steps such as leaving the NPT or claiming that achieving the free zone is impossible.

During 2018 the plan to continue the work already done requires a tight timetable.

January: The Scottish round table can map perceived obstacles and review possibilities arising from the TPNW;

February: Redrafting in time for a second round of negotiations in Switzerland in March;

April: further redrafting

May: new draft treaty presented to UN members at the NPT Preparatory Committee

Over the summer a final draft, establishment of METO and plans for verification processes to be presented at the UN’s  next year’s First Committee in October. aspects of the process, but are unable to respond quickly enough to help for January.

Further info: janet@wordsandactions.scot

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PEACE IS THE PRIZE!

To celebrate with ICAN when they receive their award in Oslo on the 10th December, why not throw a wee party?scroll down for the video with special songs!

 It is a weekend when everyone can share the story of how campaigners nobelpp2across the world got the UN to write a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, a story that includes the survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the millions of people affected by nuclear weapons testing and nuclear accidents, and a chance for all the peace lovers to take an hour off to envisage the world they are working for, when nuclear weapons are finally eliminated.

 The party can take place indoors or outside, in a pub or on the street. And then we share what we do. Make banners or make cakes. Upload your pictures and tune in to the events in Oslo on line.

[wpvideo aNoubCAz]

There will be loads coming in on Facebook and Twitter over the weekend – about the award ceremony, the parade, the concert, all part of being the NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE.

eileen.pngEveryone can take some pictures or videos and upload them on Facebook and Twitter and tell the world how you are celebrating, anytime from Friday the 8th December through till Monday 11th. Don’t forget to share with scraptrident on Facebook and Twitter and make sure to use the hashtags #nuclearban #TPNW Watch out for Scottish participation! A special song by Eilen Penman, and some funky images and some interesting locations are already in the pipeline.To get the heads up about getting active for Peace is The Prize, private message the ScrapTrident Facebook page or send an email to scraptrident@gmail.com

 

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UPPING THE GAME

The arrests of Brian Quail and Angie Zelter in the few days after the UNIMG_20170711_071311 (1) has adopted a Nuclear Ban Treaty highlights the frustration many feel at Scotland’s position as an unwilling host for Trident..

Bill Kidd MSP was at the negotiations for the Treaty when it concluded. He said,

 “There are jobs to be done now and we’re all just the people to do them. We’re going to overcome the intransigence of the nuclear weapons stnikiddglovesates and their apologists, with their playground behaviour and silly statements about never signing the Treaty.”

Trident Ploughshares (TP) is a campaign to disarm the UK Trident nuclear weapons system in a non-violent, peaceful and fully accountable manner. Disarmament camps have been taking place at Coulport since 1998.

This year, TP agreed that a camp at Coulport would take place immediately following and welcoming the adoption of the United Nations Nuclear Ban Treaty this year on the 7th July, in order to highlight the importance of the Treaty in the journey to the elimination of all nuclear weapons everywhere, to focus on the illegal and undemocratic deployment of Trident in Scotland and to remind everyone that citizen action everywhere is urgently needed.

It was here that Angie Zelter one of TP’s founders, with another TP stalwart, veteran of Scottish CND and retired classics teacher Brian Quail, peacefully blockaded the base, got arrested and have been locked up on remand until the 3rd August.

It is widely recognised within the UN that the success of the Ban Treaty Conference was not just down to the work of the governmental diplomats. Essential to the adoption of the Treaty was the work of nuclear disarmament campaigners, nuclear victims, climate change scientists and disaster response agencies, notably the International Red Cross and Red Crescent. Their input informed and directed the negotiations that led to the drafting and adoption of this important legally-binding treaty .The UK Government refused the United Nations’ request to participate in this process, and made the decision to refuse without either parliamentary discussion or consideration of the views of the devolved administrations in Scotland or Wales. Scottish civil society did what was possible to redress this, and Bill Kidd, MSP attended the Conference and gave the President of the conference a letter of support from the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Several Scottish MPs sent video messages of support for the Treaty to a well attended event at he Conference and these inputs were valued by the diplomats and the other NGO participants.

Upwards of seventy people took part in this month’s Coulport camp, creating an international community with people from Sweden, Spain, Canary Islands, and France taking part and sharing their understanding of how disarmament efforts are growing and what the Treaty will mean in many different places. In addition to blockades, activities included vigils at the Coulport bomb store, singing at Faslane nuclear submarine base, raising peace flags on the fence, “Town Criers” announcing the Nuclear Ban Treaty in Helensburgh, and hill-walkers challenging the MOD bye-laws that prohibit access to the Coulport hills. All of this provided opportunities for dialogue and much sharing of the Ban Treaty good news.

Two successful blockades of the entrance to the Coulport base led to the arrest of nine people, including internationals who will be going to their home countries, outside of the jurisdiction of the Scottish system before their trials. This might have been seen as a reason to refuse bail since their might be a question over their willingness to return, and the costs that would attach to extraditing them. However, two of those arrested, Brian and Angie, chose to refuse to sign an undertaking that would prevent them from remaining at the camp or peacefully and lawfully protesting at Coulport nuclear weapons store or Faslane nuclear bomb base until their trial on the charge of Breaching The Peace on the 3rd August. This was the bail condition that was set by the court under which they could be released pending their trial.

These bail conditions are not in the public interest, given the costs attached to locking the two up. Nor is it usual that such conditions should apply to individuals that present absolutely no risk of violent behaviour, The Scottish legal system is allowing itself to be politically biased in upholding the interests of the UK Government and the MOD in the prevention of citizens to protest and to demonstrate. It questions Scottish legal impartiality that they are doing so in a matter where the Scottish Government, in line with the majority of world governments, shares the views of the protesters.

The Ban Treaty will prohibit all nuclear weapons activity as soon as it has been ratified by 50 states – less than half the number which voted for its adoption, and its impact will be felt even in the UK and the other nuclear-armed states which declare that they will not sign up. There will be practical effects on their nuclear arrangements and the states outside the Treaty will be stigmatised in the same way that states choosing to utilise other banned WMD (for instance chemical weapons) are regarded as pariahs throughout the world. Going in the opposite direction, The UK Government plans instead more austerity cuts to pay for a nuclear weapon modernisation programme.

Angie questioned the police role in the arrest of the blockkaders on 10th July, reminding the officers of the Geneva and Hague Conventions and suggesting that they could refuse to arrest them as a matter of conscience and pointing out that:

Here in Scotland, there is an amazing chance to help this whole process of disarmament, and as a police force in Scotland, you have a much better chance to do that than officers in England and Wales, so if you could at least have a discussion about that, we would really appreciate that.”

It may be difficult for the Scottish Government to sign the Treaty when it is not at this time a member state of the UN. Can our distinct legal system and the legislation afforded by Holyrood be utilised to seek a way to ratify the Treaty’s terms in Scots Law? Perhaps Scottish lawyers and politicians as well as police officers could all examine their consciences with regard their part in banning weapons that could so easily bring such unspeakable suffering and environmental degradation to the world..

The 38 degrees petition calling for Brian and Angie’s release has been signed by upwards of 3000 people.

Such solidarity is not really surprising in a Scotland that so vociferously opposes nuclear weapons .If even a small percentage took to the hill, fences and gates to act directly on their support for the alleged lawbreakers, it would fill the Scottish police holding cells and the courts, and surely this possibility is increasing with every day we come closer to the 20th September and the first signatures on the Treaty.

While supporters consider this, details of how to write to the prisoners is available on TP and SCND websites, and TP stands by, ready to offer trainings in non-violence direct action, supporting activists, and legal observation of protest events.

Janet Fenton (attended the negotiations for the Ban Treaty with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Vice Chair Scottish CND, member or Trident Ploughshares) July 22 2017