Nuclear security means one law for all
Statement by World Future Council Members and Right Livelihood Laureates calling on world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit to take steps to achieve a sustainable global security through the abolition of nuclear weapons and the phase out of nuclear energy
We applaud the fact that the 58 world leaders, 5,000 delegates and 3,000 journalists will come to the Hague March 24-25 for the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in order to address a very real threat to humanity and the environment, now and into the future.
We support the NSS objective of governments, scientists, law-makers and civil society cooperating to ensure that nuclear materials and technology are under safer and more secure control to prevent the possibility of them being used to make a nuclear device – no matter how crude – and then using this device.
However, the world leaders participating in the Summit should take this opportunity to build sustainable global security by adopting common standards for all, committing to the global prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, and beginning a phase-out of nuclear energy.
NSS Secretary-General, Renée Jones-Bos, is correct in quoting U.S. President Obama’s statement from Prague 2009, that “In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.”
Unfortunately the governments attending appear unwilling to take the necessary steps to prevent with certainty such a catastrophic use of nuclear weapons.
They are focusing on only one small part of the problem – the acquisition of nuclear weapons or fissile materials by non-State actors – rather than on the larger and more dangerous problems of the possession of over 17,000 nuclear weapons by the nine nuclear armed States, the operational readiness to use many of these weapons within minutes on launch-on-warning policies, the deployment of nuclear weapons to other countries – including the Netherlands where the Summit is taking place, and the continued reliance by some countries on nuclear energy technologies, which fuel nuclear proliferation and create risks of further accidents like those at Chernobyl and Fukushima.
NSS Secretary-General Renée Jones-Bos makes clear the limited focus of the Summit when he says “To be clear, the NSS is not about non-proliferation. It’s about rogue nuclear material. It’s about ensuring that such material does not fall into the wrong hands.”
With regard to nuclear weapons, there are no right hands. The International Court of Justice in The Hague, confirmed in 1996 that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is generally illegal, regardless of who would possess or use such weapons, and that there is an obligation to achieve complete nuclear disarmament.
It’s ironic that this Summit is being held in The Hague, but appears to be ignoring the legal imperative from the highest court in the world situated in the same city. Applying the law against nuclear weapons only to some people (non-State actors) but not to others (State actors) is unsustainable and runs counter to the basis of law, that it should apply equally to all.
We thus support the call from parliamentarians and civil society for world leaders to add nuclear disarmament to the agenda of the Nuclear Security Summits, or to establish a similar high level process to achieve the secure, verified elimination of nuclear weapons.
In addition, the proliferation and environmental risks of nuclear energy can only be eliminated with the phase-out of nuclear energy. Since 1970, countries that have joined the nuclear club have done so through the development first of nuclear energy, and then have used the fissile materials, nuclear technology and know-how from nuclear energy to develop nuclear weapons.
In an age when energy efficiency and safe, sustainable renewable technologies are developing to meet global energy needs, a phase-out of nuclear energy over time is both feasible and imperative.
The World Future Council Members and Right Livelihood Laureates listed below call on governments attending the Nuclear Security Summit to be courageous, honest and responsible and thus raise these issues vital to the safety and security of current and future generations.
- Uri Avnery, founder of Gush Shalom, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2001, Israel
- Hafsat Abiola-Costello, Member of the World Future Council; Founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), Nigeria
- Dr. h.c. Maude Barlow, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2005; Member of the World Future Council; First Senior Advisor to the UN on water issues; Chairperson of The Council of Canadians, Canada
- Dipal Chandra Barua, Former Managing Director of the Grameen Shakti (Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2007); Member of the World Future Council; Founder and Chairman of the Bright Green Energy Foundation, Bangladesh
- Prof. Theo van Boven, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1985, The Netherlands
- Carmel Budiardjo, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1995, Co-Founder of Tapol, United Kingdom
- Marcos Arana Cedeño, Representative of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1998
- Ana María Cetto, Member of the World Future Council; Research professor of the Institute of Physics and lecturer at the Faculty of Sciences, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
- Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2006; Senior Fellow of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, United States of America
- Dr. Scilla Elworthy, Member of the World Future Council; Founder of the Oxford Research Group and Peace Direct; Director of Programmes for the World Peace Partnership, United Kingdom
- Prof. Anwar Fazal, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1982; Director of the Right Livelihood College, Malaysia
- Irene Fernandez, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2005; Founder of Tenaganita, Malaysia
- Jumanda Gakelebone, Representative of The First People of the Kalahari, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2005, Botswana
- Daryl Hannah, Member of the World Future Council; Actress and advocate for a sustainable world, United States of America
- Dr. Hans R. Herren, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2013; Founder of the Biovision Foundation; Winner of the World Food Prize 1995, Switzerland
- Bianca Jagger, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2004, Founder and Chair of Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation; Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador; International Conservation of Nature Plant a Pledge Ambassador; Member of the Executive Director’s Leadership Council of Amnesty International USA; Trustee, Amazon Charitable Trust, United Kingdom
- Ewijeong Jeong, Representative of the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ), Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2003, South Korea
- Dom Erwin Kräutler, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2010; Bishop of Xingu; President of the Indigenous Missionary Council of the Catholic Church in Brazil, Brazil
- Dr. David Krieger, Member of the World Future Council; Co-Founder and President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, United States of America
- Dr. med. Katarina Kruhonja, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1998; Founder and Director of the Centre for Peace, Non-violence and Human Rights, Croatia
- Dr. Ida Kuklina, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1996; Member of the Union of Soldiers Mothers Committees of Russia Coordination Council; Member of the Council of RF President for Development Civic Society and Human Rights, Russia
- Birsel Lemke, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2000; Founder of HAYIR, Turkey
- Prof. Alexander Likhotal, Member of the World Future Council; President of Green Cross International, Russia
- Helen Mack Chang, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1992, Fundación Myrna Mack, Guatemala
- Prof. Manfred Max-Neef, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1983; Member of the World Future Council; Director of the Economics Institute, Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile
- Tapio Mattlar, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1992, Representative of Kylätoiminta, Finland
- Prof. Raúl A. Montenegro, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2004; Chair of Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Psychology, National University of Cordoba; President of the Environment Defense Foundation FUNAM, Argentina
- Pat Mooney, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1985, Executive Director of ETC Group, Canada
- Dr. Denis Mukwege, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2013; Founder of Panzi Hospital, Democratic Republic of Congo
- Helena Norberg-Hodge, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1986, Director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture and Initiator of Ladakh Ecological Development Group; United Kingdom
- Juan Pablo Orrego, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1998; President of Ecosistemas, Chile
- P. K. Ravindran, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishat, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1996, India
- Raji Sourani, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2013; Director of the Palestianian Centre for Human Rights, Palestine
- Prof. David Suzuki, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2009; Co-Founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, Canada
- Pauline Tangiora, Member of the World Future Council; Maori elder of the Rongomaiwahine Tribe, New Zealand
- Janos Vargha, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1985; Founder of Duna Kör, Hungary
- Alyn Ware, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2009; Member of the World Future Council; Founder and international coordinator of the Network Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), New Zealand – Aotearoa
- Francisco Whitaker Ferreira, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2006; Member of the World Future Council; Co-Founder of the World Social Forum, Brazil
- Alla Yaroshinskaya, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 1992, Russia
- Angie Zelter, Right Livelihood Award Recipient 2001; Founder of Trident Ploughshares, United Kingdom