Nongovernmental Organizations Say that U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policies Threaten Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

At the recent meeting of the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (or NPT) in Geneva, several nongovernmental organizations addressed the parties saying that the nuclear weapons policies of the U.S. threaten the NPT. The groups argue that U.S. attempts to integrate nuclear weapons into a broader military strategy and the development of new weapons to implement that strategy is making nuclear weapons more useable and places added pressure on non-nuclear states to acquire such weapons. Rhianna Tyson, of the Womenıs International League for Peace and Freedom, said, "The world's first nuclear weapons state, the [U.S.], is leading the backwards charge away from the unequivocal undertaking to eliminate nuclear weapons."

Although all nuclear weapons states were criticized for retaining their weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. received particular repudiation, partially due to Congressional funding for the research for low-yield nuclear weapons and the robust nuclear earth penetrator.

The organizations say that the production of such weapons opposes the thirteen steps of the disarmament plan that the nuclear states agreed to at the NPT review conference held in 2000. The parties to the NPT agreed to "an unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear weapons states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals." Other steps include voting to bring the comprehensive test ban treaty into force, banning the production of weapons-grade fissile materials, and assuring a diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies. Tyson said, "It is all too obvious that the nuclear weapons states have failed to implement the ... disarmament plan ... in some cases blatantly casting aside or repudiating its central elements."

Tadatoshi Akiba, mayor of Hiroshima, Japan, also attended the forum. Akiba offered Hiroshima, one of two cities upon which the U.S. dropped atomic bombs during World War II, as the host city for a proposed international conference to identify ways to eliminate nuclear dangers of all kinds. Secretary General Kofi Annan proposed the conference in 2000 at the United Nations Millennium Summit. Akiba said that the conference would be a project of the World Conference of Mayors for Peace, which represents 539 cities and 250 million people worldwide. Akiba said, "Given U.S. intransigence, other nuclear weapons states cling to their weapons, and several non-nuclear weapons states appear to be re-evaluating the need for such weapons. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the rest of the world to stand up now and tell all of our military leaders that we refuse to be threatened or protected by nuclear weapons. We refuse to live in a world of continually recycled fear and hatred."

Conference attendee Kathy Wan Povi Sanchez, a Tewah Tıowah from San Ildefonso Pueblo, said that indigenous peoples from around the world have already suffered devastation from nuclear weapons production and testing. She said, "We, indigenous peoples of the world, reiterate the call for measurable and verifiable cessation of scientific, technological, political and corporate activities that result in a threat to the earth and her inhabitants. We need to redefine homeland security as healthy boundaries and sacred spaces."

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