There are currently two inquiries into nuclear weapons policy being undertaken within the UK Parliament, and you have the chance to make your voice heard by sending a response.
Christian CND is responding to these inquiries, but you can too to maximise the voices calling for progress towards a nuclear weapons-free world.
The House of Lords International Relations Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and issues around it, ahead of the Review Conference in New York, scheduled to take place in 2020. The NPT has been the cornerstone of international effort to limit nuclear weapons for decades, but talks it requires on disarmament have never materialise. Many of the most recent meetings have ended in stalemate, with the nuclear-armed states unable to agree on a way forward.
The key points Christian CND will be making in response to this consultation are:
- The erosion of international norms and Treaties means the threat of nuclear weapons being used is higher than at any point since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
- There are many challenges to nuclear diplomacy at present, including deteriorating relations between nuclear-armed states and the decision of the US to withdraw from the INF Treaty and the Iran nuclear deal.
- While the majority of states continue to see the NPT as relevant, there is a danger that if the deadlock currently taking place continues that may no longer be the case.
- States outside of the framework of the NPT threaten to destabilise the regime, as other states may see their future outside of the NPT which would spark further proliferation.
- The decision of states, including the UK, to upgrade and modify their nuclear forces is a breach of Article VI of the NPT and give the impression that they are uninterested in taking nuclear disarmament seriously.
- The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has reinvigorated global civil society against nuclear weapons, and provided non-nuclear states with an opportunity to voice their opposition.
- The UK does not appear to have played a prominent role in nuclear disarmament in recent years. Aside from maintaining the Iran deal, the UK was unable to prevent the US withdrawal and supports the withdrawal from the INF Treaty. Taken together with the on-going replacement of Trident this is not a positive position for the UK to be in.
Meanwhile the Defence Select Committee in the House of Commons has completed an inquiry into the decision of Donald Trump to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The INF was signed in the 1980s and led to more than 2000 nuclear weapons being removed from service. The withdrawal of the United States threatens a new nuclear arms race which could suck in other states including China. It could also lead to US nuclear missiles being stationed in the UK once again.
The key points Christian CND made in response to this consultation are:
- The INF Treaty was a positive step in the 1980s when the risks of nuclear war were serious.
- The Treaty took more than 2000 nuclear weapons out of commission and led to improved relations between Russia and the United States.
- There have been questions raised about the conduct of both parties of the Treaty, and it is important that these issues are dealt with through dialogue.
- Withdrawing from the INF could mean the US sparks a new nuclear-arms race, which would also draw in other states including China.
- The UK should be seeking to bring parties together to discussion rather than supporting the withdrawal of the US.
- The UK most guarantee that there will be no US nuclear missiles stations here if the Treaty collapses.
Stay tuned to the website, social media and Ploughshare for more information when the Committees publish their reports.