The House of Lords International Relations Committee has published its long-awaited report titled “Rising nuclear risk, disarmament and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”. Christian CND made a submission to the inquiry which says the level of nuclear risk has increased.
The report states that “We are dangerously close to a world without arms control agreements, which would increase the risk of nuclear use” following the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty and the Iran nuclear deal. There is also a call on the UK and NATO to engage in dialogue with Russia on nuclear matters.
The report notes the fact that nuclear-armed states are developing “more sophisticated capabilities” which include the current programme of the UK to replace Trident at a cost of £205 billion. The Lords say that these steps “increase the possibility of miscalculation and the speed of decision-making, both of which could result in an escalation of hostilities.”
The inquiry also covered the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, about which the Lords say the UK government should “adopt a less aggressive tone”. The report recommends that the UK should “seek opportunities to work with its supporters towards the aims of Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which concerns disarmament.”
Commenting on the report, the Chairman of the Committee, Lord Howell of Guildford said: “We are now dangerously close to a world without arms control agreements, paving the way for a new arms race and for increased risk of nuclear weapons use. Disintegrating relationships between nuclear possessor states, new capabilities and technologies, mixed with a lack of communication and understanding, mean that the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater now than it has been since the Cold War.
The report comes in the week before the Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee meets in New York, the final meeting ahead of next year’s Review Conference. Christian CND will be in New York working with colleagues in civil society on a number of issues relating to nuclear disarmament.