Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Support Marshall Islanders' Lawsuit Against 9 Nuclear Powers for Treaty Violations

Dear Rebecca Em ,
On April 24, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) filed the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits in the International Court of Justice against all nine nuclear-armed nations, as well as against the United States in U.S. Federal District Court. RMI claims that the Nuclear Weapon States are in breach of Article VI of the NPT, which entered into force 16,121 days prior to the filing. 
United for Peace and Justice is part of a consortium of NGOs working to highlight the legal and moral issues involved in the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits. We respect the courage of the plaintiff in bringing these lawsuits against some of the most powerful nations in the world. 
We urge you to join us by raising your voice in support of the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits. Go to www.nuclearzero.org, where you can learn more about the lawsuits and sign the petition encouraging leaders of the Nuclear Weapon States to begin good-faith negotiations. A guide for NGOs and campaigners with more information, sample articles, social media tools, images and the actual court documents are at www.wagingpeace.org/nuclearzero.
NPT Article VI states: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
This was the grand bargain that convinced many non-nuclear weapon states to sign the treaty and agree not to develop nuclear weapons of their own. Forty-four years later, with no meaningful negotiations on the horizon and no end in sight to the “step-by-step” process heralded by the permanent five members of the UN Security Council (P5), the RMI has stepped in to change the discourse on nuclear disarmament.
RMI is seeking orders to the courts to compel the leaders of the NWS to initiate good-faith negotiations for an end to the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament. They are challenging the leaders of the NWS to answer, on the record, why 44 years have passed and nuclear arsenals continue to be modernized and national security strategies continue to place nuclear weapons at the top of the list.
In addition to the five Nuclear Weapon States named in the NPT, the lawsuit also includes the four nuclear weapon states that are not parties to the NPT – Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea – which, RMI argues, are bound to Article VI obligations under customary international law.
The RMI is a small sovereign nation, among the smallest in the world. However, their courage could not be greater. Having been a testing ground for 67 nuclear tests between 1946 and 1958, the Marshall Islanders have seen their land, sea and people poisoned from radiation. They have experienced firsthand the horrible destruction caused by nuclear weapons and those that possess them. They are willing to stand up to the nine nuclear giants and say, “Never again. We have seen the destructive impact of these horrific weapons and vow to do all we can so the world never sees such atrocities again.”
TODAY, the states parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will begin a two week meeting at United Nations headquarters in New York City as part of on ongoing process to review operation of the treaty. The whole world will be watching! Sign the petition at www.nuclearzero.org. Find more tools you can use at www.wagingpeace.org/nuclearzero.
UFPJ’s Nuclear Disarmament/Redefining Security Working Group has been working since 2003 to place nuclear abolition advocacy in the broader context of peace and justice. The frightening conflict between Russia and the US/NATO over the Ukraine reminds us that the potential for nuclear war remains all too real.  An Open Letter to President Obama, initiated by UFPJ member groups and signed by 61 organizations, calling on the President to move from talk to action on nuclear disarmament, was published last week by Truthout and Counterpunch.
Please donate now to support UFPJ’s work for a peaceful, just and nuclear free world!
Thanks for your support!
Jackie Cabasso and Terry Rockefeller
on behalf of the UFPJ Coordinating Committee

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