Nuclear weapons do not make us secure. On the contrary, they are about insecurity, doubt and fear. Opinion polls show that most people want to live in a world free from the nuclear threat.
Sign the Affirmation online in English (scroll down for links to other languages)
This hope has the backing of law. In 1968 the world's governments signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which promised to abolish these weapons. In 1996 the World Court confirmed that this was a legal obligation. In 2000 the US, Russia, France, China, and the UK pledged to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.
These solemn pledges are not being kept. Thousands of nuclear weapons are still ready to be used at a moment's notice, but too many diplomats and politicians are not listening to us, the people of the world. Negotiations haven't even started.
In May 2005, nearly 2,000 members of citizens' groups around the world travelled to New York. The occasion was the five-yearly NPT Review Conference where official delegates from 153 countries gathered to discuss the vital issues of nuclear non-proliferation, possible nuclear terrorism, and disarmament.
That was the idea. In the event the United States (ably supported by the UK) and Iran deployed ingenious blocking moves in their own self-interest. Delegates such as those from New Zealand and Canada produced positive ideas for a way forward, but the big sticks wielded by a few states meant that the Conference failed to craft any real decisions. Then they all went home.
It is easy to point the finger at a few diplomats and politicians who are not listening to us, the ordinary people of the world, who want freedom from the nuclear threat. But we are talking about a failure of humanity itself. The dismal outcome of the Review Conference underscores the need for the rest of us to find other ways of having our hopes taken seriously. Mayor Akiba of Hiroshima pointed out in his open letter to President of the Conference, "disappointment does not equal discouragement" and that we therefore need "careful consideration of new ways forward". .
So World Court Project UK is not discouraged. We continue to oppose nuclear weapons not merely because they are useless, costly and dangerous, but because they violate the shared values which we believe the law must reflect. No political or national purpose could so important that it would be worth holding the peoples of the world hostage to these terrible engines of industrial killing.
The simple wording of the Affirmation of Freedom from Nuclear Weapons which we shall be asking people to sign over the next few years reflects this conviction:
"I do not accept that nuclear weapons can protect me, my country, or the values I stand for".
This statement rejects the very thought of deploying nuclear weapons which may actually be used one day. It means that each person, with each signature, has asserted their personal freedom from the tyranny of this thought.
For more information contact
World Court Project UK,
Secretary: George Farebrother
67 Summerheath Rd, Hailsham, Sussex, UK BN27 3DR,
+44 (0)1323 844 269
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The World Court Project is an international citizens' network working to publicise and have implemented the 8 July 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal status of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.