Monday, February 27, 2017

A Peace-building Commonwealth Wants to Ban Nuclear Weapons

Some blog posts just write themselves.

March 13, 2017, is "Commonwealth Day" - "the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations held on the second Monday in March, and marked by a multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey, normally attended by Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the Commonwealth . . . . ".

The Commonwealth of Nations includes these countries:

Commonwealth Countries

This year, the theme of Commonwealth Day is "A Peace-building Commonwealth."

So what I can't figure out is how certain prominent Commonwealth countries voted "no" to the UN negotiations on a global nuclear weapons ban, when it was approved this past October:

Vote on resolution to negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons in 2017 (L-41)
Green - Yes (123, 76%)
Red - No (38, 24%)
Beige - Abstained
(Via @ILPIwmd - share on Twitter)

Make no mistake -- the majority of the countries of the world approved the resolution to move forward with nuclear ban negotiations . . . the preparatory meetings have already taken place . . . and the first formal sessions will begin at the end of March.

And let's be clear: so many Commonwealth countries were actually sponsors of the resolution that you could practically call it a Commonwealth project:

New Zealand
Papua New Guinea
Sierra Leone
South Africa
Sri Lanka
St. Vincent and The Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago

Almost all the rest of the Commonwealth countries voted yes. (See the "Full voting result on UN resolution L.41" page on the ICAN website.)

A few Commonwealth countries (such as India and Pakistan) abstained on the vote -- and they may very well participate actively in the negotiations themselves. (There were some reports that India attended the preparatory meeting.)

A peace-building Commonwealth
But there are some "refuseniks."

Australia and Canada, as well as the UK itself, all voted "no." To date, all indications are that those three countries will boycott the negotiations. All of three countries are under the pressure of the ultimate refusenik -- the United States -- to stay away from this vital peace effort.

The Commonwealth really is central to banning nuclear weapons. But right now there remain a few missing pieces in the puzzle.

During this year of "A peace-building Commonwealth," urge the governments of the UK, Canada, and Australia to participate in the the nuclear ban negotiations. You can get involved at

Next step: The Road to the Commonwealth Games Passes Through #Nuclearban Territory


Who would possibly vote "NO" to banning nuclear weapons???


Three in four Australians think the government should support the UN
negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons. Only one in ten thinks it shouldn't.
(Ipsos Poll, March 2017)
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Outrageous Canada is boycotting nuclear weapons ban talks #cdnpoli
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Hiroshima survivors UK tour 2017 - "Support the global nuclear ban"
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