This autumn the United Nations General Assembly is debating a resolution on depleted uranium (DU) weapons. The 2012 resolution will set a precedent for disarmament politics by helping to confirm that peacetime environmental and health protection norms should also apply to conflict.
The resolution, tabled by the Non-Aligned Movement, recognises the potential health and environmental risks posed by the chemically toxic and radioactive weapons and requests that states take a precautionary approach to their use, as recommended by the UN Environment Programme.
The UN Environment Programme has said time and time again that ongoing uncertainties over DU’s environmental behaviour justify a precautionary approach. But the UK is still falling back on the old argument that scientific uncertainties mean we have no proof of harm therefore DU weapons can be used.
When there is scientific uncertainly the burden of proof should be on the military to prove there is no risk, rather than civil society having to prove a weapon is harmful.
The UK is one of only four states that have actively opposed the three previous UN General Assembly resolutions on the topic. We must demand that this year, the UK votes for the resolution.
Please write to your MP and ask them to sign Early Day Motion 629. You can download a sample letter below. Remember, personalised letters make more of an impact!
- Letter to MP (11 Kb - Format docx)