ACTION ALERT including background info, graphics and model letters for government officials on http://www.motherearth.org/nuke/ctbt1.php
Government representatives from around the world are gathering in the Austrian capital for the purpose of examining ways and means to accelerate the Treaty's entry into force. The Conference is expected to renew global awareness of the Treaty and encourage States who have not already done so to sign or ratify it. To date 168 countries signed the CTBT, while 104 of the signatories have ratified it. The five official nuclear weapon states have signed the treaty. Britain, France and Russia also ratified it, while China is waiting for Washington to ratify the treaty. India, North-Korea and Pakistan are also hold-out states and even did not sign the CTBT. Next to the US also North Korea decided to stay away from the Conference in Vienna. Pakistan and India will join as observers.
Since 1945 there have been 2051 nuclear tests on our planet. This adds up to an average of one nuclear explosion every 10 days for the past 58 years. These atomic tests have caused enormous human suffering in the form of cancers, birth defects and social upheaval, and environmental destruction without precedent. The effects have been felt especially by Indigenous People, who have seen their lives and homelands sacrificed for what officials have misleadingly called safe nuclear tests and activities. We need to prevent any new atomic tests in the future. Today we need to sent a very strong signal to Washington whose military industrial complex is the motor of the arms race.
The US boycott of the Conference is not a surprise as the Bush administration is pushing ahead with research and development of a new generation of nuclear weapons. The US Department of Energy (DoE) is making preparations for a new campaign of nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site. In 2002 and 2003 the DoE asked for money to reduce the time necessary to resume underground nuclear testing at the Nevada nuclear test site. Insiders fear the US will announce resumption of testing within the next two years. This will be the start of a new nuclear arms race. A growing coalition of NGO's is calling for a consumers boycott of certain US products. Pol D'Huyvetter, spokesperson of For Mother Earth who initiated the boycott declared: "Today, we want to offer consumers worldwide a tool to express their opposition to unilateral US policies, including its intention to resume testing. The boycott is the perfect daily instrument which is very easy to use as there are always local alternatives." The campaigners refer to the success of the boycott of French products in 1995 when President Chirac had to cut tests down from eight to six.
Today, the French test-site is permanently closed.
Although the US was the first state to sign the CTBT in 1996, today US is moving away from the CTBT. Bush has declared that he will not seek the approval of the Senate for the ratification of the CTBT. In November 2002 in the UN General Assembly the US was the only country voting against keeping the CTBT on the UN agenda. On August 7th 2003 Mr. Colin Powell declared that the US "has no intention of testing nuclear weapons" at this time. However Mr. Powell continued by stating "but we can't rule it out forever".
(1) NGO's participating http://www.motherearth.org/USboycott/index_en.php#signed
· For Mother Earth background info, graphics, action alert, ... http://www.motherearth.org/nuke/ctbt1.php
Contact: Pol D'Huyvetter phone +32-495-280259 firstname.lastname@example.org
· CTBTO Website of Conference http://www.ctbto.org/