EWL News

WILPF: UK Government has an obligation to nuclear disarmament

[Brussels, 27 May 2011] EWL member organisation, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), issued earlier this week a statement calling on the UK government to scrap its nuclear spending in favour of social investments, including in gender equality measures. Read the WILPF Statement issued on 24 May below.

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox has announced approval for the early phase of design of the nuclear armed submarine that will continue the UK’s deployment of nuclear weapons “well into the 2060s.” The main-build decision is not scheduled until 2016, but the UK has initiated work on detailed design and procurement.

Despite admitting that no state currently threatens the independence of the UK, Dr Fox considers that a major threat might re-emerge in the next 50 years. “The time is simply not right,” he said, to do away with nuclear weapons.

UK WILPF disagrees: as a signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty, the UK Government has an obligation to nuclear disarmament. Every investment in the continued nuclear capability is a violation of this commitment. WILPF and many others view these weapons as a liability that generate fear and create insecurity. They desire that they should never be inflicted on any country, as target or host.
At a time of economic crisis, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) estimates that replacing the Trident submarines is likely to cost around £26 billion. According to the Fawcett Society, independent analysis of the 2010 budget shows that it is women who will bear the brunt of planned cuts, with 72% of the savings identified in the budget coming from women’s pockets. Cuts of benefit that more women than men rely on are indicated. The public sector pay freeze will also hit women disproportionally as 65% of public sector workers are women. We recognise that as costs of Trident escalate, cuts will go deeper.

The democratic deficit in Scotland’s enforced complicity in hosting these illegal, immoral, devastatingly wasteful and dangerous weapons has long been a cause for anger and resentment.

Following its landslide election, the SNP Scottish Government has announced its intention of calling on the UK to remove all nuclear weapons from Scottish soil. This could begin the process that will lead to global nuclear disarmament and is a call that will gain the support of many Governments in the international community.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is an international NGO with National Sections in 37 countries. WILPF has consultative status with the UN to formally lobby the UN and its agencies on issues related to peace, disarmament and economic justice. WILPF was founded in 1915 when 1300 women met to protest against a war in Europe. WILPF continues to campaign for peace, justice, equality and the full enjoyment of human rights for all.

Read the full Statement on Liam Fox’s approval for work to start on Trident replacement here.

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