Disarmament Times E-News

Issue 5        April 2015

UN NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security
Editor: Elaine Riot
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The Rise of the Drones
Mary Ann McGivern, Board of Directors, Peace Economy Project
In 1972, the American Friends Service Committee made a slide show, “The Automated Air War.” My office, the St. Louis Economic Conversion Project (now the Peace Economy Project), bought the slide show. I showed it to peace groups, college classes, and political clubs. It made the compelling case that automation divorced our human sensibilities from the act of killing other humans.

But we kept on doing it. More...
Thousands to rally for nuclear abolition in NYC this weekend 
Peace & Planet CONFERENCE (April 24-25) and MARCH (April 26)
On the eve of the 5-year Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, thousands of people from around the globe will gather in New York City April 24-26 to demand a nuclear-free, peaceful, just and sustainable world, according to a Peace & Planet statement. Activists, scholars, and students with anti-nuclear, peace, and environmental justice movements will call on the NPT Review Conference meeting at the United Nations to demand the start of “good faith negotiations” for the complete elimination of the world’s nuclear arsenals, as required by the treaty.

Peace and Planet events will kick off with an international conference April 24-25 at the historic Cooper Union, featuring speakers from more than a dozen countries. On April 26, a mass rally will take place in Union Square, followed by a march to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza where millions of petition signatures will be presented to UN and NPT officials. The rally will launch a “Global Wave,” with participants symbolically waving goodbye to nuclear weapons. The Global Wave will travel west, by time zone, with public events scheduled in Papeete, Manila, Amman, Bethlehem, Stockholm, Paris, London, Sao Paulo and points in-between. Read on...
The Youth Disarmament Movement at the UN 
A conversation with youth disarmament activist Anna Ikeda of SGI
DT E-News had the opportunity to talk with Anna Ikeda about her experience with the growing youth disarmament movement at the United Nations. Anna works as a program associate at the United Nations Liaison Office for NGO Soka Gakkai International (SGI).

“One thing that I’ve been noticing at many of the disarmament communities that I attend is they are really excited to see the presence of young people. And that really gives assurance to the movement that we will carry on.” Click here to read the full interview.
A discussion with editors of the Palestine-Israel Journal
Stacy Hanrahan, NGOCDPS member and NGO Representative for the Congregation of Notre Dame
The NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security co-sponsored a special program on  March 26 at the Church Center of the United Nations with Ziad AbuZayyad and Hillel Schenker (pictured), the co-editors of the Palestine-Israel Journal.

Hillel and Ziad have played a major role in Israeli-Palestinian efforts to promote a just and sustainable peace for most of their adult lives, and for the past 14 years through the Journal.  Speaking almost immediately after the re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel, their remarks carried an especially profound, painful and poignant impact. 

The event was not a formal presentation but a shared debriefing from the two men, with questions and input from the participants. This was what I heard listening to two tired and worried patriots and peacemakers, trying to hope in dark times:
  • Both men are representative of the moderate voices in their countries. And both have favored the two state solution, seeing it as a way for freedom and peace for all the people living in the area.
  • There are in effect two Israel’s: e.g., Tel Aviv and Haifa voted 90% for a new government while Jerusalem voted 70 to 1 for Netanyahu’s coalition
  • At this point Ziad does not see any partner for coming to a two state solution. “You cannot negotiate with your occupier," he said, and Hillel seemed to agree. Ziad believes that Netanyahu’s remarks expressing his refection of a two state solution represent his real position.
  • Ziad, and to some extent Hillel, expressed a tangible concern that the extremist religious ideologues in both Palestine and Israel could continue to gain ground, resulting in a “type of “religious war” which puts doctrinal purity over human well-being and life itself. 
  • Both men called upon the group to keep our constituencies focused on the current situation and to call upon our respective government and religious leaders to bring about a resolution. The longer this conflict festers the more dangerous it becomes - not only for Palestine and Israel but for the entire region. 
The United Nations at 70: The state of nuclear disarmament
Early disarmament efforts, near misses and the scourge of nuclear proliferation
In January 2015, NGOCDPS member Guy Quinlan, president of Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, delivered these comments on the history and importance of nuclear disarmament at the UN at the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations (CTAUN) Conference, “The UN at 70.”

Thank you for inviting me to speak at your celebration of the UN’s 70-year history—a history that began, as I’m sure you recall, with a resolution calling for the elimination of atomic weapons. As it happens, this year also marks two other significant anniversaries.

It is now 45 years since the Nonproliferation Treaty entered into force in 1970. In that treaty the Nuclear Weapon States made a solemn commitment to negotiate in good faith for the ”cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date,” and for “nuclear disarmament.” This is a commitment that the International Court of Justice has held to be a binding obligation under international law. More...
Upcoming events and dates of interest to the disarmament community
APRIL 26 - PEACE & PLANET MARCH and FESTIVAL for nuclear abolition - NYC
View Peace & Planet video here.

APRIL 28 - May 22: NPT Review Conference

APRIL 28 - 30: Symposium on Academia and Nuclear Policy

MAY 1 - Challenging the Status Quo: A Generation Rising for Peace, Justice, and Nuclear Abolition (BANg side event)

10 - 11:30 a.m., United Nations, Conference Room C
The event will focus on developing 10 key ideas for engaging youth in peace and disarmament movements.

MAY 5 - NGOCDPS Side Event - Briefing on 2015 NPT Review Conference
1:00 - 2:15 p.m., United Nations Church Center, Room TBA
Lawyer John Burroughs will give a briefing on how the NPT Review Conference is progressing, likely outcomes, and developing NGO strategies.

MAY 11 - Civil Society Honors Angela Kane
6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Boss Room, 8th Floor. United Nations Church Center

Nuclear Disarmament Now
A message from NGOCDPS President Bruce Knotts
Dear Friends,

We are heading into a most important time for the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security. At the end of April, the United Nations will discuss the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  A mass movement is organizing demanding an end to nuclear weapons. We have not seen this kind of public protest against nuclear weapons for many years. Read on...
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