CND has been working hard at local and national level, in parliament, in the media, and working closely with other groups, to raise awareness of the NPT and the 13 steps to nuclear disarmament agreed in 2000. It has been a lively and busy time, with debates, meetings, speeches, interviews, petitions and postcard campaigns.
Highlighting the UK' s shocking nuclear hypocrisy has -- sadly -- been all too easy . Peter Hain promised in 2000 that “we are unequivocally committed to the pursuit of nuclear disarmament”. But the UK's achievement over the past five years is nil. Not only have we failed to implement our NPT commitments; we have also actively pursued policies that provoke proliferation and war.
The case for compliance
CND has been working to get the word out about the NPT. In March, CND Vice-Chair and Chair of Parliamentary CND Jeremy Corbyn MP secured an adjournment debate to discuss the NPT in Parliament. A strong case was put for Treaty compliance by Jeremy and other MPs. Let's hope the government listened. The full text of the debate is available from the CND office.
Peace campaigner and CND Vice-President Bruce Kent has been out on a national CND “Abolish all nukes now” tour for three months in the lead up to the NPT review conference. Bruce and all the supportive local groups and activists worked hard on two goals: firstly to get as many signatures as possible on the Abolition 2000/CND petition calling for nuclear weapons abolition negotiations to start; secondly to support the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in their call to Mayors around the world to take part in the Mayors for Peace initiative and to go to the conference in May.
Bruce spent time on stalls, speaking in market places and doing both local and national press work to raise awareness of the NPT. He has met with local dignitaries -- faith leaders, politicians, celebrities -- to encourage them and others to sign up to the NPT petition. Thanks to Bruce's dedication and the hard work of local CND and peace groups that have organised each leg of this tour, we have been able to reach out to many people who had never heard of the NPT, and spread the word that it's time to get rid of all nuclear weapons everywhere.
We are planning the biggest CND intervention in years at the NPT conference. Many CND delegates will be in attendance to lobby diplomats and make our views heard. We will also be out on the May Day Disarm Demo with other peace campaigners and abolitionists on 1 May, and we will be linking up with US peace activists to discuss strategy and tactics for the months ahead. We are holding a reception on the eve of the demo, together with Atomic Mirror and United For Peace and Justice, the big US peace and anti-war organisation. This will be a good opportunity to make campaigning links. To ensure our political input we are holding a fringe meeting in the UN building on Monday 2 May at 3pm, bringing together representatives from the British, Japanese, US and French peace movements. The focus for discussion and action will be our opposition to “Counter-Proliferation” -- the latest US/UK scheme to strip disarmament out of the NPT.
Knowing the current US attitude towards the NPT and the 13 steps -- I think “contemptuous” would probably describe it -- we will be fighting hard to protect what we can of the NPT. But whatever happens we will continue our campaigns: for the abolition of nuclear weapons, opposing the new generation, saying no to Trident replacement, opposing policies of nuclear first strike and pre-emptive war. And we will be working broadly and cooperatively with everyone who wants to achieve that.