Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged to participate in multilateral disarmament progress at the UN

by Jon Stone via The Independent

 

Boris Johnson has been urged to back a United Nations initiative to restart efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Groups including Greenpeace UK, CND, and Quakers in Britain wrote to the Foreign Secretary to ask him to back tomorrow’s UN general assembly motion on multilateral disarmament.

In August this year a UN working group recommended the setting up of “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

In September Austria’s government announced that it would sponsor a UN resolution recommending such a conference, with a general assembly vote now due on the subject.

The groups, organised by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, say it is not clear which way the UK will vote. Activists delivered a letter to the Foreign Office urging Mr Johnson to direct the UK to back the motion.

“The existence of nuclear weapons poses a dangerous threat to global security; any intended or unintended detonation will have catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences,” the signatories say.

“The international community has already outlawed other inherently inhumane and indiscriminate weapons, from chemical and biological weapons to antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions.

“A ban on nuclear weapons is long overdue – and the UK must be part of that process.”

 

Dr Matthew Rowland, the UN’s permanent ambassador at the UN in Geneva, has said earlier this month that countries should adopt a principle of “do no harm” with regards to nuclear weapons rather than pushing for a ban, however.

The signatories said they were “alarmed and disappointed” by this statement.

The international push for multilateral disarmament comes after MPs voted to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system – rejecting unilateral disarmament in the UK.

The full list of NGOs to sign the letter is: the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, Article 36, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Greenpeace UK, Medact, Movement for the Abolition of War, Nuclear Free Local Authorities, Nuclear Morality Flowchart Project, Pax Christi British Section, Quakers in Britain, Scientists for Global Responsibility, Strategic Concept

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