Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

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International Day of Action November 6th 2004

Once again, campaigners have been active world wide to show their opposition to the use of DU and to call for an international treaty to ban its use in weaponry. The date chosen was significant: November 6th was the UN day for Prevention of the Exploitation of the Environment during Wars and Armed Conflicts.

In Brussels activists from the Coalition 'Stop Uranium Weapons!' held a protest action in front of the Belgian Ministry of Defence during which they symbolically sealed off the Ministry of Defence, as a zone contaminated with toxic and radioactive depleted uranium. Their protest was supported by politicians from different political parties as well as by a variety of peace and environmental groups. A delegation from the Coalition delivered a petition, signed by thousands of people, calling for a ban on DU weapons systems to the Ministry of Defence. The same demand was also presented to the Belgian Foreign Office.

A spokesperson of the Belgian Coalition 'Stop Uranium Weapons!' stated,
"The UN-Sub-Commission on Human Rights has labelled 'conventional' weapons that contain depleted uranium as illegal weaponry, because of the indiscriminate nature of the weapons. Uranium weapons cannot make a distinction between civilians and soldiers. Nevertheless, these weapons have been widely used in the US led wars in Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. Belgium has still not ruled out the use of these weapons, and supports NATO operations that use depleted uranium."

Many thousands of miles away, 16 activists from United Neighbors Weapons Inspectors, BANDU and the Nuclear Resister newsletter, in Tucson, Arizona, paid a surprise visit to the Davis-Monthan US Air Force Base, where pilots are trained to fly the A-10s, responsible for firing most of the depleted uranium now contaminating Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans.

The Pentagon has refused to identify where DU was used in Iraq, so the activists called for whistle blowers with a variety of placards, such as "Where's the Depleted Uranium?", "A-10 Pilots Know - Please Tell Iraq", "Help Iraq Clean Up DU", "Depleted Uranium - Used Once - Kills Forever".

Unfortunately their white lab coats did not fool the base security officer at the gate and they were prevented from seeking out the pilots who could tell the Iraqi people where to go to clean up their country. Their action received good TV coverage, including a response from the Air Force declaring that over 50 years of scientific study had shown o adverse health effects from DU! (So why does the US government treat DU as a toxic hazard and danger to public health?)

They were not the only US group on the streets that day. Indeed a new group was launched in Vermont, the 'Network Opposed to Depleted Uranium Weapons'. The group denounced DU weapons at a rally of the statewide "Bring The Troops Home Now!" movement and followed it by a march to the Vermont State House. They are committed to the struggle to ban the production, sale and use of weapons containing depleted uranium through the use of popular education, community organizing and non-violent direct action.

Manchester held a meeting just before the day of action to hear at first hand about the effects of DU on the children of Iraq from one Joanne Baker, a recently returned activist and spent the day itself handing out leaflets and petitioning the shoppers in Manchester town centre.

Littleborough Peace Group was one of many peace groups in several areas who took to the streets with petitions and leaflets.
Small is beautiful too!

Some actions have been smaller than others, but by no means less effective. At CADU we liked the action taken by Joan Sheldon and her husband, both in their eighties. They took international petitions to Epson High Street and to day-centres, - proof that we can all do something, wherever we are, however many or few there are of us, to help get rid of these immoral, illegal weapons.

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Page last updated: 6th December 2002