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Five million say scrap nuclear weapons

There must be no replacement for TridentOn the final day of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference a petition will be presented to Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street by Bruce Kent, Vice President of CND, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Vice Chair of CND, Claire Poyner of Abolition 2000 and Caroline Gilbert of Christian CND. This year is the 60th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To remind the government of the true horror of nuclear weapons, paper cranes made by Japanese children in Hiroshima, will also be handed in with the petition.

The 14,700 signatures which will be handed in represent over 5 million signatures collected in the UK and across the world calling for the governments of the nuclear weapons states to neither use, threaten to use nor to develop nuclear weapons, and to take immediate steps for their abolition; and the governments of all countries to take action for the conclusion of an international treaty for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Millions of signatures on the same petition were also handed in during the first week of the NPT Conference in New York by Hiroshi Taka of the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, on behalf of Abolition 2000 the global abolition network.

The petition was originally launched by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the global network Abolition 2000. Tadatoshi Akiba, the Mayor of Hiroshima, addressed delegates at the conference and spoke for over 5 million when he said: "We no longer accept the nuclear status quo. The time has come for the will of the majority to be respected."

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said, "The outcome of this year's NPT conference is crucial to the future security of the planet. There have been brave and persistent attempts by the majority of the non-nuclear weapon states to ensure that disarmament remains at the heart of the NPT. Of particular note has been the work of the New Agenda Coalition led by New Zealand and the Non-Aligned movement led by Malaysia. It has been clear over the past month however, as it was before the conference began, that the nuclear weapon states are making every effort to move away from the disarmament steps set out in the final document of the 2000 Conference. It will be a grave set back if a final document is agreed on Friday which undermines the 2000's 'unequivocal undertaking to work towards the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals' and the agreed 13 step to disarmament. It will send a clear message that the nuclear weapon states do not wish to comply with their crucial side of the NPT bargain."

Bruce Kent, Vice-President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, will be handing the petition in to Downing Street. He toured the UK in the months leading up to the NPT to draw attention to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and collect signatures for the petition.

He said: "This global petition makes it clear that the people of the world want abolition. I toured the country this year, meeting people from all across the UK who want to see their government make real steps towards getting rid of nuclear weapons world wide. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty is constantly being misrepresented as if it was only concerned with stopping other countries from obtaining nuclear weapons. In fact it lays down a clear obligation on the nuclear weapon powers to negotiate the abolition of their own. This obligation was clearly spelt out by the International Court of Justice in 1996. A detailed draft treaty, prepared by experts, which covers all the difficult issues of verification and inspection, was lodged with the UN by Costa Rica in 1997. Without total nuclear disarmament we will never have true peace and security."

Jeremy Corbyn MP said, "This petition represents the global desire to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The UK must heed this message. To comply with its NPT commitments the government must stop any research and design work on a new generation of nuclear weapons at the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment and make an unequivocal statement that it will not replace the Trident nuclear weapons system."


May 2005


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