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CADU NEWS 22
three times a democracy? EP makes third call for DU moratorium
DU Activists Mobilise For The 3rd International
Day Of Action
CADU In Geneva: ICBUW Hosts DU Workshop For Diplomatic
Twice, Three Times A Democracy? EP Makes Third Call For DU Moratorium
On the 17th November, the European
Parliament issued, for the third time, a call for a moratorium on the
use of so-called depleted uranium munitions.
The resolution regarding depleted
uranium is part of an 11-page document entitled: Texts adopted by
European Parliament, on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;
A role for the European Parliament.
The Resolutions section
No. 82 says that the EP: Reiterates its call for a moratorium -
with a view to the introduction of a total ban - on the use of so-called
depleted uranium munitions.
The legal basis for the moratorium
was detailed early in the document, which stated that: All European
Union Member States are Parties to the major multilateral agreements that
make up the non-proliferation regime, namely the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT), the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC),
the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the 1996 Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
In a month that has revealed
the extent to which the US and, by association, the UK have seemed content
to dismiss the rules of war in Iraq through the use of restricted weapons
and tactics, the EPs repeated call could not have come at a more
important time. Whether the UK, who currently holds the EU Presidency,
will welcome the call is a matter for debate.
We feel that this is a welcome
reminder to the entire European community that depleted uranium weapons
remain illegal under a host of international conventions. As weapons of
indiscriminate effect they are classified under international law with
chemical weapons, fuel air bombs and napalm. Their use should remain deeply
offensive to right-thinking members of the international community.
That the UK and US continue
to use these weapons, despite our poor understanding of the hazards of
low-level radiation and, specifically, internal radioactive emitters,
is a reflection of our Governments uncaring and cavalier approach
to the environment, our own troops and civilians.
In January 2001, the European Parliament called on member states that
were also NATO members to place a moratorium on the use of DU weapons
in accordance with the precautionary principle.
In February 2003, the EP called
on its executive body the European Council, to support independent
and thorough investigations into the possible harmful effects of the use
of depleted uranium ammunition (and other types of uranium warheads) in
military operations in areas such as the Balkans, Afghanistan and other
regions; [especially] on military personnel serving in affected areas
and the effects on civilians and their land. They called for the results
of these investigations to be presented to Parliament.
The 2003 resolution also called
for Member States to immediately implement a moratorium on the further
use of cluster ammunition, depleted uranium ammunition and other uranium
warheads, pending the conclusions of a comprehensive study of the requirements
of international humanitarian law.
Activists Mobilise For Third International Day Of Action
On the 6th November, anti-DU
activists across the UK, and the world, took to the streets for the 3rd
International Day of Action against DU.
In the UK CADU members braved
the miserable weather to leaflet Manchester city centre, whilst Birmingham
saw more of the same. North of the border, activists in Glasgow and Falkirk
also took to the streets. CADU had a mixed response at our spot on Market
Street with most shoppers intent on making an early start to their Christmas
shopping. The most positive responses invariably came from teenagers,
many of whom stopped for a chat and seemed genuinely interested in the
Elsewhere, actions were held
across Europe, the US and Japan. In Japan the NO DU Hiroshima Project
organised a series of talks with Gerard Matthews the ex-US National Guardsman
who was exposed to DU through his role of collecting battle debris in
Iraq. In Belgium, activists organised a magical mystery tour that just
happened to end up at the Belgian MoD, where activists reminded them of
their concerns. And over in the US, our old friends at Nukewatch failed
to curb their enthusiasm by starting a week early with another successful
action at ATKs DU weapons plant in Minnesota. This time 41 of them
managed to get arrested for trespass, a crime that carries
a $200 fine.
Dirty DU Secret
The uranium enrichment multinational
Urenco has come under fire from green groups for exporting thousands of
tonnes of depleted uranium to Russia, in spite of Russias appalling
safety record and the fact that dumping is technically illegal.
Urenco, whose plant at Capenhurst
in Cheshire enriches uranium for use in the UKs power plants has
exported more than 75,000 tonnes of DU to Russia since 1996. The importation
of nuclear waste into Russia for the purposes of storage is illegal, but
Urenco and other European uranium enrichment and reprocessing firms bypass
this by arranging the return of some reprocessed material. However, around
98% of the waste has not been returned and is now being stored at four
sites across Russia.
The containers used to transport
the uranium waste do not meet current International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) standards and pose a serious risk during the thousands of kilometres
journey to the Russian disposal sites, where they are illegally dumped.
Once there, the containers, each of which contains up to 10t of gaseous
DU are left in the open air to slowly corrode. A large proportion of the
waste is in the form of hexafluoride crystals, which react violently with
water leading to dispersal of toxic gases, including hydrogen fluoride.
In Russia, Greenpeace has filed
a case in the Moscow district court against the Russian government nuclear
export company, Tecksnabexport. According to paragraph 3 of article 48
of the federal law of 2001 On Environmental Protection, import
of nuclear waste and foreign nuclear materials to the Russian Federation
for the purpose of its storage or disposal is prohibited.
The nuclear industry
is opting for the cheapest, dirtiest and most dangerous option
dumping in Russia, said Vladimir Tchuprov of Greenpeace Russia in
La Havre. Russia already has a nuclear waste crisis, and yet EDF,
EoN, and all other European nuclear utilities are making the situation
worse. Disposal and even storage of foreign nuclear waste in Russia is
illegal, said Tchuprov.
The waste is sent to Sverdlovsk-44,
Angarsk, Krasnoyarsk-45 and Tomsk-7, one of the most radioactive sites
on Earth and a centre for plutonium production.
In Geneva: ICBUW Hosts DU Workshop For Diplomatic Staff
On Wednesday 9th November,
at the Varembe Conference Centre in Geneva, close to the UN, there was
a co-hosted workshop Towards a Ban on Depleted Uranium
Weapons, between IPB - the International Peace Bureau, and ICBUW
- the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons. The day was
chosen to mark 6th November, which three years ago had been set by the
UN as the: International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of
the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.
Kofi Annan said in a press
release for the first observance of the day in 2002 that: International
conventions govern nuclear, chemical and biological weapons but new technologies
- such as depleted uranium ammunition - pose as yet unknown threats to
the environment. Damage to the environment in war is also an impediment
to the restoration of peace and rebuilding society. The lesson to
be drawn is that modern warfare needs environmental rules, just as earlier
wars highlighted the need to regulate the impact of war on civilians and
prisoners of war.
ICBUW wants to establish those
rules with regard to DU munitions.
The workshop, attended by more
than 40 guests, was opened by Henk van der Keur, of ICBUW, giving
an outline of the ICBUW report on the overall world wide increasing opposition
to the use, testing, development and trade in DU weapons. Professor
Nobuo Kazashi, ICBUW Board member from Japan, gave the background
to the movement against DU in Japan and the information, resources and
activities being produced there. The growing global concern stems
from the knowledge of the increased incidence of cancers, especially among
children, and birth deformities in the areas where the munitions have
been used. Presentations were made on the health and environmental effects
of DU munitions by specialists in various fields, including Dr Keith
Baverstock, (former Regional Adviser for Radiation and Public Health
at the WHO), Professor Michel Fernex of IPPNW (International Physicians
for the Prevention of Nuclear War) Switzerland, Heike Schroder
(a researcher on chromosomal aberrations), and medical doctor Dr Katsumi
ICBUW now has a Draft Treaty,
drawn up by Manfred Mohr, an international human rights lawyer,
which was presented at the conference. The Draft Treaty, calls for, inter
alia, a halt to the production, testing, sale, stockpiling, financing,
transport and export of these weapons, and a decommissioning of all existing
stockpiles. ICBUW also calls for immediate medical assessment, treatment
and long term monitoring of all those who have been exposed to uranium
weaponry. ICBUW are of the opinion that a treaty banning DU weapons
would constitute the best solution for confirming the illegality of DU
use. Such a treaty would not only ban the weapons, but would include
the prohibition of their production, the destruction of DU stockpiles,
decontamination and compensation for victims.
After the presentations, there
was a lively discussion on some aspects of the exact whereabouts of the
DU bombing by the UK and US (the only countries, as far as is known, definitely
to have used DU in conflict) and on the role of the WHO. Representatives
of the latter organisation were present at the meeting and promised to
look into the matter further.
At the end of the meeting,
Mrs Haruko Moritaki, of the NO DU Hiroshima Project, Japan, presented
a petition with more than 200,000 signatures to Mr Roman-Morey,
Deputy Secretary General for the UN Conference on Disarmament. Signatures
will continue to be collected until a ban is achieved. The petition
is available to download and can be signed online at www.bandepleteduranium.org
After the workshop, Colin
Archer of IPB, arranged for ICBUW members to attend the Geneva NGO
Disarmament Committee meeting. This was most helpful for the ICBUW
delegation from countries across Europe and from Japan, to hear something
of the structure of the UN and how presentations could be made to different
UN bodies, from Colin himself and David Atwood from the Quaker
UN office in Geneva. Both promised their support in facilitating
future meetings and seminars.
Some US troops returning from
Iraq will be offered testing to check for contamination from DU. State
legislators across the US are pushing ahead with laws that will provide
their National Guard troops access to what they call best practice
Connecticut and Louisiana have
already passed such legislation and another 18 are said to be considering
similar steps. Connecticut's new law - pioneered by state legislator Pat
Dillon - comes into effect on Saturday. Speaking to The Independent, Mrs
Dillon, a Yale-trained epidemiologist said: "What this does is establish
a standard. It means that our Guardsmen will have access to highly sensitive
testing that can differentiate between background levels of radiation."
Former member of the New York
National Guard, now turned DU activist, Gerard Matthew, served in Iraq
from April to September 2003. He was not offered testing when he returned.
A New York newspaper offered to arrange it for him and some friends. "[With
the military] it never came up. They suppressed the whole DU thing,"
Mr Matthew was found to have
suffered considerable radiation exposure. Two years on he suffers from
migraines, erectile dysfunction and a swollen face - conditions that have
developed since he returned from Iraq. His daughter, Victoria Claudette,
was born with only two digits on her right hand.
However, the Connecticut and
Louisiana laws have no money allocated, so it is not clear who will pay,
let alone who would do the testing. The Louisiana legislation specifically
prohibits state funding up front, and only describes what the test should
be capable of doing with no details on the type of tests that will be
used. The Connecticut legislation states that the test will be: a
best practice health screening test for exposure to depleted uranium.
If the testing regime is anything
like that of the UK Depleted Uranium Oversight Board, CADU has grave concerns
that it will amount to little more than another DU whitewash.
The United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) has released the findings of its first survey of environmental
hot spots in Iraq.
A list of 50 sites was presented
by the Iraqi Ministry of the Environment for consideration and selection.
The report points out that the country has a significant legacy
of contaminated and derelict industrial and military sites. It also
warns that the destruction of the Iraqi military arsenal is creating new
contamination and hazardous waste problems at scrap yards and munitions
dumps, which could be better managed through better working practices
and basic planning.
There are also recommendations
covering the oil industrys contaminated sites and one for the establishment
of a hazardous waste treatment facility. Overall, close to $40 million
is needed to meet the reports recommendations in full.
Klaus Toepfer, UNEPs
Executive Director, said: Wars, conflicts, instability and the poor
environmental management of the previous regime have the left their scars
on the Iraqi people and the Iraqi environment. If the country is to have
a brighter and less risky future it is incumbent on the international
community to help the authorities there deal with these pollution hot
The assessment of the sites was conducted in April 2005 and funded by
a contribution from the Japanese government.
The analysis included the Ouireej
Military Scrap Yard. Ouireej, a planned residential area situated 15km
south of Baghdad, became the main dumping and processing site for military
scrap and destroyed Iraqi weapons. It once held hundreds of potentially
hazardous items including tanks and missiles containing unexploded ordnance
and chemicals. DU rounds used by the US and UK have contaminated many
of the tanks and personnel carriers with depleted uranium oxides. The
UNEP team recommended that contaminated military vehicles be separated
out from the general scrap at the site.
In a world first, the Sardinian
village of Villaputzu has banned the transit, storage and use of depleted
uranium weapons within its boundaries.
Villaputzu, which is next door
to the Salto di Quirra test-firing range, made the decision after its
mayor proposed the ruling during the summer. It is alleged that 12 of
the villages 200 inhabitants have developed lymphatic leukaemia,
a cancer often associated with radiation exposure. The ban includes both
the civilian and military use of DU.
Unfortunately, given the secrecy
that surrounds the range, it is unlikely that this decision will lead
to the end of test-firing there, however, it does now give the local police
the power to arrest anyone found to be in possession of DU within the
villages boundaries. It could also set an important precedent for
other population centres with the misfortune of having a test-firing range
on their doorstep.
Belgium is to become the first
country in the world to introduce blood testing for soldiers sent into
combat. While other countries have set up testing regimes for their veterans
with mixed results the Belgian model will be the first to
test soldiers before and after their tour of duty. A clinic that will
specialise in the testing will open early next year at the military hospital
The testing is a direct result
of ongoing complaints from soldiers about Balkan Syndrome, soldiers who
still concerned about the health hazards connected with DU exposure in
the Balkan conflict. The Belgian anti-DU movement is going from strength
to strength with 71 Belgian organisations supporting their Ban Uranium
Wapens mission statement. They have managed to stop one major bank
from investing in DU manufacturers and a bill proposing a ban will soon
be introduced in the Belgian Senate, where ICBUW members will give expert
Australian anti-nuclear campaigners
and green groups are fighting to stop the countrys biggest uranium
and copper mine from destroying a unique desert ecosystem.
The Roxby mines statistics
are truly staggering. In one year it creates 10m tonnes of radioactive
tailings, accounts for 8% of South Australias carbon dioxide emissions
and uses 30m litres of water a day. Its huge appetite for water has brought
it into conflict with environmentalists. The water is extracted from the
Great Artesian Basin, a huge and ancient store of groundwater that lies
beneath most of central Australia. The basin supports unique wetland oases
called Mound Springs where water flows to the surface. The springs are
home to dozens of species of plants and invertebrates found nowhere else
on Earth and they are of profound cultural significance to the Arabunna
Aboriginal people of the region.
BHP Billiton, the mines
owners, have just submitted an application to boost their groundwater
abstraction to 120m litres a
day for the next 70 years.
BHP wont pay for a single drop of this, in spite of the fact that
it is already the largest single-site user of underground water in the
Southern Hemisphere. Such is the size of the mine, that BHP enjoys completely
unjustifiable legal privileges - the Roxby Indenture Act, which overrides
the SA Environment Protection Act, the Water Resources Act, the Aboriginal
Heritage Act and even provides exemptions from the Freedom of Information
Act. BHP recorded profits of AU$8bn last August.
Uranium from the mine is soon
to be sold to coutries outside of the remit of the Non Proliferation Treaty
such as China, and as yet, the mine has no long-term plans in place to
deal with the 60m tonnes of radioactive and chemically toxic tailings
that it has produced.
As we reported last issue,
it is boom time for uranium mining Down Under. As countries
re-start nuclear power programmes, the price of uranium has rocketed.
Economically viable uranium deposits are expected to run out in 70 years
if demand continues to rise.
Firstly, an apology
from all at CADU for the delay in getting this edition to you. As you
may have gathered from the news stories, we have had a very busy few months.
In October, we ran a workshop at the CND National Conference and took
receipt of our eagerly-awaited new display. After a cold day demonstrating
in Manchester city centre in early November, we visited Geneva as part
of ICBUW to lobby at the UN. While we were there, the International Peace
Bureau shared with us some highly useful insights into the best ways of
lobbying politicians and diplomats about disarmament issues.
In December, we received a warm welcome in Ilkley at a DU session with
Education for Global Justice - a group who discuss globalisation issues.
A week later, CADU were in London at the Stop The War Coalitions
International Peace Conference, where an impressive array of speakers
from across the globe discussed the Iraqi occupation and the effects of
the so-called War on Terror.
With the Iraqi Tooth Fairy
Project and an epidemiological survey in Basra next year, CADU are hoping
that 2006 will be the year in which a lot of our questions are answered.
Hopefully it will be a year of peace too.
In the wake of the EPs
third call for a DU ban, write to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and ask
what the UK will be doing about it.
We were delighted to learn
that Harold Pinter had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Having
read his inspiring and radical speech, we could have also wished that
he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.
He is a strong supporter and
friend of CADU and we send him our warmest greetings.
A Word From Our Coordinator
Firstly we would like to thank
all our supporters who have given donations since the last issue of the
newsletter. But we have to follow this by saying that our funding from
the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust has now come to an end. We will only
therefore be able to pay our worker for one day a week for CADU work and
that only for about six months. We are incredibly grateful to the Trust
for their generous funding, funding that has allowed us to expand our
selection of campaigning tools and maintain our office and website.
However, we are determined to continue the work of campaigning against
DU munitions and working with our friends in the International Coalition
for a Ban on Uranium Weapons (ICBUW). We have come so far and established
such a strong campaign that we will not give up until we have achieved
our goal. Because we are at such a crucial stage, we will continue to
put in energy and time as best we can.
If you can help in any way to contribute financially, or by volunteering,
please do get in touch with us.
Lastly on behalf of CADU, I
would like to wish you all a peaceful New Year with the hope that we can
travel some more way to a world of peace and social justice.
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