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At the Local and State Level, New Campaign Aims to Generate National Support for UN Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons

"Our campaign is about putting pressure on the U.S. government and the other nuclear nations to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons."

US nuclear weapons test at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1946. (Photo: US Government)

With a focus on local efforts at the municipal and state level, a coalition of more than fifty anti-nuclear organizations have launched a new campaign designed to pressure the U.S. government to end its opposition and sign the UN's global treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

The newly-launched 'Treaty Compliance Campaign' is targeted at gaining national support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted by 122 nations at the United Nation's in July of last year. While the U.S. remains the world's largest nuclear power—and numerous past presidents past have said they believe in the goal of a nuclear-free world—lawmakers in Washington, D.C. have steadfastly refused to endorse the treaty that would bar all signatories from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, or stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Not only has the U.S. not signed the treaty, it has so far boycotted the negotiations and actively lobbied other countries not to sign it. With that in mind, the anti-nuke coalition's new campaign wants cities and states governments—as well as businesses, universities, faith communities, and individuals—to comply with the treaty nevertheless.

The groups, according to a joint statement, want these various entities "to defy the US government on this issue and show their solidarity with the rest of the world, much as cities, states, businesses, and others have come out in support of the Paris Climate Accord despite the U.S. government's decision to pull the U.S. out of that agreement." The group's noted:

Towns and cities in the US cannot "sign" an international treaty, nor can they remove the nuclear weapons that may be stationed or their soil, since this is the sole prerogative of the U.S. government. They can, however, pass legally-binding resolutions and local ordinances and statutes that prohibit companies from manufacturing and maintaining these weapons within their jurisdiction. They can divest city and state funds from these companies and they can refuse to sign city and state contracts with these companies.

Vicki Elson, co-founder of NuclearBan.US coalition, said, "Our campaign is about putting pressure on the United States government and the other nuclear nations to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. But it's more—we're putting pressure on the 26 companies that make nuclear weapons to realize the time has come to shift to other industries—like those that address climate change."

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