Press Release

Trident submarines are the UK’s weapons of mass destruction. They must be resisted.

I fully support ACTION AWE and its campaign to take nonviolent action in order to resist the replacement of Trident submarines. It is important and urgent that all of us must do what we can to stop the dangers of nuclear conflict and the real danger of slipping into world war III.

People power is the only thing which will force UK politicians in 2016 to follow their conscience, and vote against the replacement of the UK Trident submarines, so we should increase our efforts and campaigns now – well before the next UK elections around 2015. It will be the Parliament that we elect then who will vote yes or no to the replacement of these nuclear weapons of mass destruction. We must also challenge the profit driven arms manufacturers who are negotiating with the government to update these illegal and indiscriminate weapons which kill men, women and children.

In May 2009 seventeen Nobel peace laureates signed the Hiroshima-Nagasaki declaration, in Japan, in which they said

The world is well aware that nuclear weapons are a humanitarian disaster of monstrous proportions.They are indiscriminate, immoral and illegal. They are military tools whose staggering consequences have already been seen in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and in the long-term impacts of those horrific massacres. Eliminating nuclear weapons is indeed a possibility – more than that, it is a fundamental necessity”

In forging a more secure planet for us all, The Nobel Peace laureates called on the citizens of the world

to press their leaders to grasp the peril of inaction and summon the political will to advance towards nuclear disarmament and abolition.

We, the people, have many reasons to call for the ending of the Trident programme. These weapons threaten mass extermination and environmental destruction of our world. As the UK has signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the government has legal obligations under this treaty to take seriously their obligations to disarm.

The UK, as indeed all five nuclear weapons states who have signed the NNPT, are acting illegally and criminally under International law, as their government policies break the Nurberg principles by threatening and possessing nuclear weapons while the existence of their states are not under threat.

In all good conscience we must not remain silent whilst our government policies support the possible horrific genocide of men, women and children in the most cruel of ways, as happened to our Japanese brothers and sisters. We must refuse to be silent and be the conscience of the world in loudly proclaiming

not in my name the nuclear destruction of human beings and the environment.’

Nor must we remain silent in the face of the continuing wasting of our tax money – used to purchase of these horrific weapons, or to support militarism and war. These destructive policies are funded at our expense, whilst the basic needs of people at home and abroad are often neglected or denied. Food, heating, health care, education, jobs and homes, are being denied to many families, through policies of austerity cuts – so forcing families, particularly the young and old, to choose between heat or food.

The failed arguments for nuclear weapons – that they provide “nuclear deterrence”- means little to those whose daily life is one of struggle and survival due to lack of basic needs.

There is no safety in these horrific weapons, and no person or country can be trusted with them. We must insist the UK government immediately commit to ‘no first strike’ and encourage all nuclear weapons states to commit to this.

We can also call on all those scientists who make these nuclear weapons to stop making them, we can call on members of our armed forces to disobey orders and refuse to operate these UK illegal weapons of mass destruction.

We must delegitimize and criminalize nuclear weapons and war, end resources for them, transferring the money to meet human security of basic needs of all the people.

If the UK were to continue to spend millions on updating Trident, this would encourage other countries to improve the quality and increase the quantity of its nuclear weapons.

It would also show that the UK is not serious about upholding its NNPT obligations and would encourage others to start obtaining nuclear weapons. The double-standards would not be lost to the world community: the UK and the USA updating their weapons of mass destruction, whilst Iran is threatened with invasion and occupation in spite of not having any such nuclear arsenal. Iraq was destroyed by these two nuclear states, based on the lie that it had nuclear weapons. The irony is not lost on the world, that USA/NATO/Israel again threaten war, this time on Iran, whilst all three are themselves nuclear weapons states.

We can all help to build the critical political will which insists that the UK politicians and government vote ‘no’ to Trident. We can flex that political will to make them begin negotiations on a new and even more important treaty, namely, a Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Taking on the awesome might of the military industrial nuclear complex is daunting but it is in all our interests that we do so, as an important part of the global transformation to nonviolent security and peace.

Mairead Maguire

Nobel peace laureate

September, 2012