Civil Society Groups call for Canadian action at upcoming NPT Preparatory Meeting

March 6, 2007

Please be advised that the 7th revision of the NPT Statement below has been sent to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (Nuclear) Division (IDN) of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs. I am happy to report that 37 groups have endorsed this Statement, including the nascent group which I’ve started, the Brampton Coalition for Peace and Justice (BCPJ).

Civil Society Groups call for Canadian action at upcoming

Non-proliferation Treaty Preparatory Meeting

 

The Current Situation

We remain faced each day with the threat of 27,000 nuclear weapons, of which over 4,000 are capable of being used in under 30 minutes.

On January 4, 2007, George P Shultz, Wm. J. Perry, Henry A Kissinger and Sam Nunn, all American citizens with extensive political and military experience, called for the United States to show leadership and work energetically in defining steps toward a world free from nuclear weapons. This statement notes the ineffectiveness of traditional deterrence policies as a response to the threat posed by recent acquisitions (or threats thereof) of nuclear weapons by North Korea and Iran. They comment further that “non-state terrorist groups with nuclear weapons are conceptually outside the bounds of a deterrent strategy and present difficult new security challenges”. Others remain deeply concerned about the magnitude of the threat maintained by the United States and Russia for between them they possess over 95% of the nuclear weapons in the world. These two states retain launch-on-warning policies which radically increase the danger of use in the event of computer error, human error or terrorist access to communications or launch software.

On 17 January 2007, the Board of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the “Doomsday Clock” from 7 minutes to 5 minutes before midnight. They included in their reasons the fact that the potential for “an accidental or inadvertent nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia remains, with both countries anachronistically maintaining more than 1,000 warheads on high alert, ready to launch within tens of minute” and the continuing possibility of an exchange between other nuclear-armed states, and the new risks posed by access to unsecured fissile materials by nuclear terrorists. Recent climate model simulations indicate that the explosion of only a small portion of the global nuclear arsenal would have devastating consequences, including significant climatic affects.

The NPT PrepCom Opportunity

We look forward to the upcoming Preparatory Committee Meetings under the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT PrepCom) scheduled to occur in Vienna April 30th to May 11th, 2007. This provides all states with the opportunity to plan carefully for actions to lessen the threat posed by nuclear weapons.

This is an opportunity for the Canadian government to show leadership at this critical forum. We encourage the Government to continue active support for the nuclear disarmament agenda as set out in the commitments made in the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences.

In preparation for the NPT PrepCom deliberations, Canada should speak out at the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in April against the proposed India-US nuclear technology proposal as this deal is a clear breach of Article I of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.


 

During the course of the PrepCom, the Government should:

a) urge all Nuclear Weapons states to “develop concrete plans – with specific timetables – for implementing their disarmament commitments” as called for by former Secretary General Annan on Nov. 28, 2006;

b) call for urgent reductions of non-strategic nuclear weapons, and encourage unilateral action by NATO in eliminating its nuclear weapons in compliance with the obligations of NATO states under the NPT; (In 2000, all States Parties to the NPT agreed to the “13 Practical Steps”, Step 9 of which set out agreement to develop measures to “further reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons systems…” and have a “diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies to minimize the risk that these weapons ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination”.)

c) facilitate or be open to support a diplomatic solution to the crisis with Iran;

d) intensify Canada’s advocacy for the Entry-into-Force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;

e) intensify its advocacy for international support of the NPT institutional strengthening package proposed by Canada at the 2005 NPT Review conference, including calls for annual meetings, regular reporting and improved NGO access to NPT meetings;

f) host discussions on means of integrating Israel, India, and Pakistan (and re-integrating North Korea) into the NPT perhaps exploring transitional measures to provide them with associate status within the regime, and build toward a consensus in support of preserving the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group principle that makes civilian nuclear cooperation conditional on adherence to full-scope safeguards;

g) host a discussion of the risks posed by current Russian and American launch-on-warning policies in order to develop policy alternatives that would eliminate this risk; and

h) fund the participation of representatives of key non-governmental organizations within the NPT PrepCom to encourage disarmament education of these individuals and the groups they represent .

These actions will enable this Government to continue Canada’s international leadership within the NPT in the reduction of threats posed by nuclear weapons.

Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

#208, 145 Spruce

Ottawa, ON K1R 6P1

Phone: (613) 233-1982

FAX: (613) 233-9028

6 March 2007


CNANW member groups endorsing this Statement:

Canadian Federation of University Women

Canadian Peace Alliance

Canadian Pugwash Group

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

Lawyers for Social Responsibility

Physicians for Global Survival

Project Ploughshares (Canada)

Religions for Peace Canada

Science for Peace

Veterans Against Nuclear Arms (Canada)

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Canada)

World Federalist Movement – Canada

Other groups endorsing this Statement:

Boundary Peace Initiative

Brampton Coalition for Peace and Justice (BCPJ)

Canadian Council for International Cooperation

Canadian Student Young Pugwash

Humanist Movement in Canada

KAIROS BC-Yukon

Kootenay Region Branch of the United Nations Association in Canada

Lethbridge Network for Peace

Pacific Campaign for Disarmament & Security (Resource Office, Canada)

Pacific People’s Partnership

Parkdale United Church, Faith and Justice Committee

People Against Weapons in Space

Peace and Social Concerns Committee, Ottawa Monthly Meeting of Friends

Project Ploughshares Calgary

Project Ploughshares Edmonton

Project Ploughshares Fredericton

Project Ploughshares Kawartha

Project Ploughshares Ottawa

Project Peacemakers (Winnipeg)

St. Mark’s Anglican Church Committee, Kaslo, BC

Salmon Arm Kairos Peace and Justice Committee

The Simons Foundation St. Mark’s Anglican Church Committee, Kalso, BC


Toronto Hiroshima Day Coalition

Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ

Veterans Against Nuclear Arms, ON-QUE Region

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MADRE Event at UN, International Women’s Day, and Other News

March 6, 2007

MADRE speaks out about International Women’s Day events and more news in this March/April newsletter:

March/April 2007

Dear Friends,

Around the world, millions upon millions of women and men come together every March 8th in celebration of International Women’s Day. The first official celebration of this holiday in the early 20th century commemorated women who demanded their rights to more just working conditions in the US. Since then, this day has grown into a day of celebration and activism worldwide, following in the long tradition of women standing up for their rights and speaking out against injustice.

As International Women’s Day approaches this year, a frightening incident reminds us of the dangers that women face when we refuse to be silent in the face of human rights abuses. On February 26, 2007, Houzan Mahmoud, a representative of MADRE’s sister organization in Iraq (the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq), received a death threat via e-mail from Ansar-al Islam, the notoriously brutal jihadist group based in Kurdistan/Iraq. Even in the face of this condemnation, Ms. Mahmoud is adamant that she will continue her work cultivating support for women in Iraq and Kurdistan. MADRE salutes her courage, and we remain committed to her—to OWFI and to women and their families worldwide in our fight for justice and equality.

But this Women’s Day is a time for celebration as well. It’s an occasion to celebrate the successes of the past year, and perhaps mostly to celebrate the solidarity we share with our sisters. With MADRE’s support, the women of the Indigenous Information Network (IIN), our partner in Kenya, are planning a three-day celebration and training for women from across East Africa. Their event last year attracted more than 1,000 women from groups in Tanzania, Uganda, and Sudan, and we look forward to hearing about this year’s response to IIN’s workshops on HIV/AIDS, violence, and political participation.

Thank you for standing with MADRE and our sisters on this International Women’s Day. We hope you will celebrate it in a way that is meaningful to you and your community.

Sincerely,

Vivian Stromberg
Executive Director

PROGRAM UPDATES

MADRE Partner Condemned to Death by Jihadist Group
Houzan Mahmoud, the international representative of MADRE’s sister organization, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, received an e-mail signed by Ansar-al Islam, the notoriously brutal jihadist group based in Kurdistan/Iraq.

Iraqi Police Commit Rape–Armed, Trained, and Funded by the US
MADRE responds to the recent media barrage surrounding the first Iraqi rape victim to appear on television, and highlights the fact that rapes committed by official forces are nothing new in Iraq.

Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-Based Violence and the US War on Iraq

This MADRE report documents the use of gender-based violence by Iraqi Islamists, brought to power by the US overthrow of Iraq’s secular Ba’ath regime, and highlights the role of the United States in fomenting the human rights crisis confronting Iraqi women today. Read the Executive Summary. Full report will be available tomorrow.

MADRE’S LATEST

Confronting Gender-Based Violence in Iraq
Please join us for the release of the report and a panel discussion on March 6th, during the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Copies of the report will be available at the event, and thereafter on MADRE’s website.

DELEGATION ANNOUNCEMENTS

Visit Nicaragua, Kenya, and Guatemala with MADRE
MADRE has several exciting human rights delegations to Kenya, Guatemala, and Nicaragua planned for this spring. Delegates will have the opportunity to meet with women and youth activists and gain a firsthand understanding of their human rights struggles.

MADRE IN THE NEWS
Yifat Susskind and Houzan Mahmoud to be interviewed on Democracy NOW!

MADRE Communications Director and our Iraqi partner will be on Democracy NOW! on Tuesday, March 6th. Check your local listings for the time and station.


Tomgram: David Swanson, Will Iraq Become the Democrats’ War?

March 6, 2007

Nothing reminds us more of how much the American constitutional system has been transformed, of just how extreme the “imperial presidency” has become, than Congress’s generally woeful record in the second half of the last century and in the first years of this one to exert any significant control over or brakes on White House wars abroad. On such issues, Congress has generally lagged well behind public opinion — as in Vietnam, where its greatest power, the power of the purse, led to partially successful defunding efforts only in 1973 after all U.S. combat forces had been withdrawn and as the American war was limping toward its end.

Congress has been weak even at its moments of relative strength, as with the War Powers Resolution of 1973; and ineffective when it has actually moved, as in the Boland Amendment’s attempt to restrict the Reagan administration from funding and arming Nicaragua’s Contra movement in the early 1980s, which resulted in the Iran-Contra Affair, a remarkably effective set of quasi-legal and utterly illegal evasions of Congress’s funding and arming strictures — until finally revealed in 1986. (And, of course, so many key figures in Iran-Contra returned to the Bush administration in 2001 in triumph and, as Seymour Hersh relates in his most recent New Yorker piece, two years ago they even convened a meeting, headed by Iran-Contra alumnus and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams, to consider the “lessons” of the Affair and essentially plot a new version of Iran-Contra to be run out of the Vice-President’s office.)

The imperial presidency has regularly run circles around an ever weaker Congress. Now, once again, we find ourselves at a moment where the public seems increasingly eager for Congress to rein in an out-of-control White House and its increasingly catastrophic policies, this time in the Middle East. Below, David Swanson explores these questions: What might the new Democratic Congress be willing to do when it comes to Iraq? What is it actually capable of doing? If it does manage to act in any half-significant way, will the Bush White House simply ignore it? Tom

Can Congress End the War?

Democratic Leaders May Prefer to Claim They Tried But Failed
By David Swanson

The shortest route to ending the Iraq war (and preventing additional wars) is almost certainly through Congress. Influencing the White House directly is unimaginable, and stopping the war through the courts unlikely. Clearly, Congress is the way to go. But what specifically can Congress do?

How We Got Here

The peace movement lobbied a Republican Congress without success for four years. Then, on November 7, 2006, the American public elected a Democratic Congress in a clear mandate delivered at the polls. Not a single new Republican was elected, and 30 new Democrats were ushered in, with voters overwhelmingly telling pollsters that they were voting against the war; and by “against the war,” they meant “against the war,” not “against the escalation.” Remember, the President’s “surge” into Baghdad had not yet been announced.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.


Mississauga: March 17 Anti-War Rally Press Release

March 6, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On March 17, 2007, anti-war activists across Canada, led by the Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA), will mark the 4th anniversary of the US/UK invasion of Iraq. There is clear evidence of dwindling support for occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan, evidenced both by the results in the US of the mid-term elections, and in Canada by the turmoil within the Liberal party which initiated Canada’s intervention in Afghanistan. Anti-war activists feel it is crucial in this context that we continue to mobilize whenever and wherever possible, as the Bush administration looks to undo the damage done to it in Iraq by threatening and attack on Iran.

A peaceful world cannot be achieved by regime change or foreign intervention.

The Mississauga Coalition for Peace and Justice (MCPJ), Palestine House and the Brampton Coalition for Peace and Justice will be organizing a rally and march in community under the slogans:

Troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan

War Resisters Welcome Here
No Canada-U.S. military partnership

No to Islamophobia and racism

Free Palestine

We will be rallying on March 17 at 10:30 am at the intersection of Hurontario and Dundas Streets, to hear from a wide variety of community activists followed by a short march, then we will join the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War for their activities at the US Consulate which will begin at 1 pm. We will be providing a bus to Toronto to allow the Mississauga participants to join the events in Toronto.

Mississauga Coalition for Peace and Justice – MCPJ
mcpj@resist.org
www.mcpj.ca


Palestine House

http://www.palestinehouse.com/

Brampton Coalition for Peace and Justice (BCPJ)
https://verbena19.wordpress.com/


Anti-Scab Legislation Needs Our Help!

March 6, 2007


On March 21 our Members of Parliament are scheduled to vote on changes to the Canada Labour Code that, if adopted, would put an end to the use of scabs during labour disputes in the federal sector. Working people must ensure that this happens.

 

Recently, the leader of the Liberal party Stéphane Dion announced that he will not support an end to scab labour – even though the majority of his Liberal colleagues supported the first and second readings of the legislation in Parliament. This means that we must work harder than ever to convince our MPs that the use of scabs is behaviour that Canadian workers cannot accept.

 

When Bill C-257 comes to a vote, we want our MPs to vote ‘yes!’ You can tell Stéphane Dion and your own MP to do this, right now, by clicking here:

www.caw.ca/takeactionnow/index.asp?ID=38

The research is clear: when scabs are used during strikes and lockouts, labour disputes last longer and often get nastier. Bargaining is stalled, communities are divided, and tempers flare. Work days are lost, and everyone suffers.

For workers, watching someone steal your job creates anger, bitterness, and resentment that damages morale and productivity for years to come.

Over the next two weeks, contact your Member of Parliament. Call him or her on the phone. Send a message through the web address below. MPs will be in their home riding offices over the next two weeks – visit them personally. Tell them you and your family want anti-scab legislation in place. Tell your MP to vote ‘yes’ and pass Bill C-257.

http://www.caw.ca/takeactionnow/index.asp?ID=38


Videos: Strike Support Rally

March 6, 2007

IN THE SPIRIT OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – A WOMAN’S PLACE IS … IN HER

UNION!!

Here are some videos from the rally at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton for striking workers at FirstOntario Credit Union.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBCh5Mez_tU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Nyx4jiQsco

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZL-HlB14GI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52RTG5WhhGs