Bourse du Travail, June 19, 2010
On June 18 and 19 2010, democratic lawyers and peace activists from around the world met in Paris to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Stockholm Appeal for Peace . The Appeal was launched in 1950 by the World Peace Council. It enshrined three principles: (1) a total ban on nuclear weapons; (2) the establishment of a control mechanism for the application of the prohibition; and (3) a mandate that all States refrain from launching a first strike, which is a crime against humanity.
The horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, crimes against humanity, were, at the time of the Stockholm Appeal, still fresh in the minds of the people. As a result, the Appeal gathered hundreds of millions of signatures. The overwhelming support for the Appeal deterred the United States from using nuclear weapons in the Korean War.
During the Cold War, the nuclear arms race escalated to the point where there developed tons of explosives that could kill each inhabitant of the planet several times over.
Even after the end of the Cold War, reliance on nuclear weapons and modernization of arsenals continued. In addition, the United States and NATO have used depleted uranium with indiscriminate effect on civilian life and the environment for generations to come,
In 1970, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) banned nuclear weapons for States that had not yet acquired them. But it only imposed on nuclear weapons States an obligation to negotiate in good faith effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race “at an early date,” and to disarmament. This obligation has not been fulfilled 40 years later.
Instead of negotiating disarmament in good faith as required by the NPT, the United States and Russia have negotiated bilateral treaties that limit the number of nuclear weapons they possess. This strategy implicitly legitimizes their existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons, which still have many thousand times the destructive power of Hiroshima. Since nuclear weapons threaten the whole world, effective implementation of the Stockholm Appeal requires universal, not bilateral, agreements.
The United States 2010 Nuclear Posture Review fails to rule out the first use of nuclear weapons. The U.S. also seeks to preserve the option to use nuclear weapons in response to non-nuclear attacks and capabilities. This strategy violates the Stockholm Appeal.
The United States and Israel continue to rattle their nuclear sabres at Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. These types of threats are illegal under international law.
Under these circumstances it is the duty of the Security Council to act pursuant to its mandate under Article 26 of the United Nations Charter. This Article requires the Security Council to formulate a program of general and complete disarmament to establish and maintain international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources.
In this time of environmental and economic crisis, it is imperative that the Security Council assume its responsibility under the Charter.
Moreover, General Assembly Resolution 1653 determined in 1961 that the use of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity and a violation of the UN Charter.
As a logical continuation of IADL’s support of the Japanese people’s struggle to retain Article 9 of Japan’s Peace Constitution, IADL undertakes to develop a campaign that will work toward the realisation of the three Mandates of the Stockholm Appeal, consistent with Article 26 of the UN Charter. It pledges to work with NGOs and peoples’ movements that are committed to the full implementation of these goals and to the promotion of peace as a human right.
IADL calls upon its member associations, democratic lawyers and peace-minded people throughout the world to mobilize to make the promise of the Stockholm Appeal a reality.
The Stockholm appeal reads:
• We demand the outlawing of atomic weapons as instruments of intimidation and mass murder of peoples.
• We demand strict international control to enforce this measure.
• We believe than any other government which first uses atomic weapons against any other country whatsoever will be committing a crime against humanity and should be dealt with as a war criminal.
• We call on all men and women of goodwill throughout the world to sign the appeal
Art. 26 of the Un Charter reads:
In order to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources, the Security Council shall be responsible for formulating … plans to be submitted to the Members of the United Nations for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments.