Experts urge Canadian leadership to ban nuclear weapons – April 18, 2011

Ottawa ON – The Canadian government should join a new international effort to construct a global legal ban on all nuclear weapons, concluded disarmament experts meeting in Ottawa.

“Canada should host a meeting of governments and civil society experts to prepare for negotiations for universal, verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament as called for by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,” said former Senator Douglas Roche, Canada’s former UN Ambassador for Disarmament.

Five Canadian civil society organizations urged the Canadian government to act on motions already adopted by both the Senate and the House of Commons calling on the government “to deploy a major worldwide Canadian diplomatic initiative” for nuclear disarmament.

The expert seminar, held April 11th and 12th, was attended by diplomats from 20 embassies, parliamentarians, and government officials to consider the threat posed to Canadians and all global citizens by the 22,000 nuclear weapons still in existence.

Calling for negotiations to start on a legal ban on all nuclear weapons, Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament at the U.N., said use of any nuclear weapon would be “an egregious violation of the most fundamental tenets of international humanitarian law and the laws of war.”

Amb. Richard Butler, Middle Powers Initiative chairman, said Canada has a special role to play because it has the standing to stimulate informal discussions on the legal, technical and political requisites for a nuclear weapons free world that can set the stage for major international negotiations later on. He said the Middle Powers Organization would be prepared to work with Canada in going forward.

Diplomats from the UK, Switzerland, Mexico and Austria responded to H.R. Duarte. Nicolas Brühl, Deputy Head of  Mission, Embassy of Switzerland stated:

“[Nuclear weapons] are fundamentally immoral because they cause massive and indiscriminate destruction in terms of human lives, material resources and consequences for the environment. They are illegal by their very nature with regard to international humanitarian law.”

Dr. John Burroughs of Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy noted the recent Vancouver Declaration that clarifies that both the use, and threat of use, of nuclear weapons breach international humanitarian law.

“A practical and single-focused process leading to a global legal ban on nuclear weapons provides the way to safely rid the world of all nuclear weapons in a secure manner.” said Beverley Delong of Lawyers for Social Responsibility. “And Canada has a unique opportunity to lead the way.”

This seminar was sponsored by the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Canadian Pugwash, Physicians for Global Survival, Project Ploughshares, and World Federalist Movement – Canada.


Des experts pressent les leaders canadiens d’interdire les armes nucléaires


Le gouvernement canadien devrait participer à un nouvel effort international pour organiser une interdiction juridique mondiale de toutes les armes nucléaires, concluent des experts en désarmement réunis à Ottawa


« Le Canada devrait accueillir une assemblée de gouvernements et d’experts de la société civile pour préparer des négociations en vue d’un désarmement universel, vérifiable et irréversible, comme réclamé par le Secrétaire général de l’ONU, M. Ban Ki-Moon », a déclaré le Sénateur Douglas Roche, ancien ambassadeur canadien pour le désarmement auprès de l’ONU.


Cinq organisations de la société civile canadienne ont pressé le gouvernement canadien de donner suite à des motions déjà adoptées par le Sénat et la Chambre des communes, appelant le gouvernement à « déployer une initiative diplomatique mondiale majeure » en faveur du désarmement nucléaire.

La conférence d’experts, tenue les 11 et 12 avril, a réuni des diplomates venus de 20 ambassades, des parlementaires et des hauts fonctionnaires pour étudier les menaces que font peser sur les Canadiens et tous les citoyens du monde les 22 000 armes nucléaires encore en existence.


Appelant au lancement de négociations en vue de l’interdiction légale de toutes les armes nucléaires, M. Sergio Duarte, haut représentant pour le désarmement à l’ONU, a déclaré que toute utilisation d’une arme nucléaire constituerait « une violation flagrante des principes les plus fondamentaux du droit humanitaire international et du droit de la guerre. »


L’ambassadeur Richard Butler, président de l’Initiative des moyennes puissances, a déclaré que le Canada a un rôle spécial à jouer parce qu’il a la stature pour stimuler des discussions informelles sur les exigences juridiques, techniques et politiques d’un monde libre d’armes nucléaires, capables de mettre la table en vue de futures négociations internationales de grande envergure. Il a ajouté que l’Organisation des moyennes puissances serait prête à travailler avec le Canada à faire progresser cette initiative.


Des diplomates du Royaume-Uni, de la Suisse, du Mexique et de l’Autriche ont fait écho aux propos de M. Duarte. Nicolas Brühl, chef de mission adjoint à l’ambassade de Suisse, a renchéri : « Les armes nucléaires sont fondamentalement immorales parce qu’elles causent des destructions massives et indiscriminées en termes de vies humaines, de ressources matérielles et de conséquences pour l’environnement. Elles sont illégales par leur nature même au regard du doit humanitaire international. »


M. John Burroughs du Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy a rappelé que la récente Déclaration de Vancouverétablit clairement que l’utilisation comme la menace d’utilisation des armes nucléaires constituent toutes deux des infractions à la loi humanitaire internationale.


« Un processus pragmatique et dirigé vers l’objectif pointu d’une interdiction juridique mondiale de toutes les armes nucléaires — voilà la façon de débarrasser le monde de toutes les armes nucléaires de manière sécuritaire », ajoute Beverley Delong du Lawyers for Social Reponsibility. « Et le Canada jouit d’une occasion unique d’ouvrir la voie. »

Cette conférence a été rendue possible grâce aux efforts conjoints du Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires, du Canadian Pugwash Group, des Médecins pour la survie mondiale, du Projet Ploughshares, et du Mouvement fédéraliste mondial (Canada).

Daily Dish News


  1. It is a good consideration. Nukes are just wrong. The question here is what will they do with the uranium. SRU is not easy dispose of. Currently they bury some amounts in the mountains of Washington State. As well France has a well defined facility that allows the product to settle and reduces its half life. It was something Bush wanted the US to have sole responsibility for.

    So far this is similar to all environmental initiatives. We set a goal but have no definition to achieve the goal.

    How do they know there are 22,000 nuclear weapons still in existence. Was there a form on gun registry for this thing? It is presumptions that Bush was made to look the fool for.

    Would we see all countries conform to this incentive including Israel? Not trying to sound anti semtic it is just a political question.

  2. If we must have nuclear reactors then thorium based nuclear reactors are a more reasonable source of nuclear energy. The half-life of the radio-active thorium is only about 300 years compared to 10,000 for plutonium and the thorium reactors use the plutonium waste from current reactors as feed stock. The only reason why most of the world went to plutonium based reactor in the first place was so the United States could have a readily available source of material to make nuclear weapons.

  3. We know that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. We know from experience that nuclear weapons don’t tend to leak unless they are in nuclear submarines at the bottom of the ocean (as reported by National Geographic Magazine). We know that our milque-toast politicians like to bark and wag their tails about Cap and Trade. Why not a cap and trade tax on radiation leaks? Why not a cap and trade tax on behalf of all those people who live near nuclear reactors and have a growing cancer rate? We know from experience that we store nuclear waste above nuclear reactors. We know from bad science and bad science funding that dubious truth, logic and partisan science are part of the problem. The relationship between scientists and the Canadian government is terribly corrupt. Did you know that the manufacture, distribution and sale of uranium is legal, that the government even knows who the users are but won’t make an arrest? Possession of five or more nuclear plants should be a mandatory five years. If you continue to allow nuclear science, well, look at Fukushima – easy to predict 4 million dead by the Fall. Not if but when.

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