International Peace Bureau welcomes Nobel Award to IAEA + El-Baradei; Urges campaigns for nuclear-free world
Posted by Abolition, 17th Oct 2005 | Category: Opinion
Geneva, 17 Oct, 2005. The International Peace Bureau congratulates the IAEA and Mr El-Baradei on joining the ranks of the Nobel prizewinners. We believe that the award signals a strong warning to those who would try to solve the problem of nuclear proliferation by unilateral, and possibly military, means. Honouring a UN agency is in itself an important message: that the UN cannot, and must not, be sidelined. Mr El-Baradei has stood up to the US policy on Iraq's alleged WMD with courage and strength in the face of a concerted campaign for his removal. It is right that this should be recognized and applauded. Furthermore, his speeches have included clear calls for the implementation of Article 6 of the NPT, which requires the elimination of nuclear weapons. We especially commend the section of the Nobel Committee's statement urging 'active opposition to nuclear arms'.
Nevertheless we hope this Prize will not been seen as giving a green light to the development of nuclear energy as a solution to the challenge of global warming and the depletion of fossil fuels. The solution to this global problem - which has many grave implications for security - lies in renewable energy and reduced consumption, not atomic power. Furthermore, we cannot accept a solution to the energy crisis that bequeathes thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste to the next 1000 generations. IPB urges the creation of a new global institution capable of actively promoting a renewable-energy future.
We share the concerns expressed by many in the civil society that the contradictory roles of the IAEA - being at one and the same time the promoter and the policeman of nuclear energy - are not tenable. Promoting nuclear energy leads more and more states to develop technical capacities that then offer a temptation to use them for military ends. As we have seen in Iraq, Libya and North Korea, the IAEA has in fact not been successful in detecting military programmes or in preventing their development. Furthermore, it appears to be helpless when faced with a US administration that is determined to develop new types of nuclear weapons along with a willingness to consider using them in pre-emptive strikes. Its inspection powers must be reinforced and made applicable universally.
The IAEA also has a questionable record on the after-effects of the Chernobyl disaster. It has been so concerned to present a positive image of nuclear energy that it has allowed itself to be used by those who are attempting to 'whitewash' the record. To say that there have been only 44 deaths - as it does in the Sept 5 joint report, published together with the governments most immediately concerned - is a travesty of the truth. As a former winner of IPB's MacBride Peace Prize has commented:
"The IAEA controls all information on radiation health, excluding the World Health Organization. Their primary mandate is to promote nuclear power, and this means they consistently minimize the true health effects of nuclear pollution. This has produced extreme suffering for the victims of Chernobyl. " (Dr. Rosalie Bertell).
We also wish to express our remorse about the lack of gender equality within the IAEA apparatus/board and the need for a gender perspective, as is called for under Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security; and that the presence of caring women might help move the IAEA and world public opinion in the direction of a nuclear-free world, which is what we all need and want for the survival of humanity and the planet.
We call on people everywhere to join the campaign to abolish both nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.