July 8, 2016
Chain Reaction 2016, a series of events and actions at nuclear-weapons and nuclear-disarmament related sites around the world, was launched today in Sydney during an International Peoples’ Tribunal on Nuclear Weapons and the Destruction of Human Civilisation.
‘A nuclear bomb destroys through an uncontrollable chain reaction of atoms being split in two,’ said Alyn Ware one of the organisers of Chain Reaction 2016. ‘Today, we are launching a chain reaction of peace actions by people to counter the threat posed by these instruments of mass destruction.’
‘The first of these events is this tribunal which highlights the responsibility of leaders of nuclear armed States and those under extended nuclear deterrence doctrines to end the illegal threat nuclear weapons pose to human civilization,’ said John Hallam one of the organisers of the International People’s Tribunal. ‘There are nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons in existence, many ready to launch within minutes. The world could be obliterated in a matter of minutes – whether by accident, miscalculation, or intent. Chain Reaction 2016 and this Tribunal aim to end this existential threat to humanity.’
‘Chain Reaction is being launched on July 8, the 20th anniversary of the historic decision by the International Court of Justice in 1996 on nuclear weapons,’ said Hon Matt Robson, one of the judges of the International People’s Tribunal and a former New Zealand Minister for Courts and Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control.
‘In 1996 the ICJ affirmed that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is generally illegal, and that there is an unconditional obligation to achieve their elimination. Today in the Peoples’ Tribunal we have heard frightening testimony on the current risks and the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons use, as well as international law applicable to this issue. We will make a judgement on the responsibility of world leaders with regard to this situation on August 9, the 71st anniversary of the use of nuclear weapons against the city and people of Nagasaki’.
‘Chain Reaction 2016 includes a range of creative actions around the world from today until October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and the UN International Day for Non-violence,’ says Caroline Leroy from UNFOLD ZERO, the coordinators of Chain Reaction 2016. ‘A number of international peace, religious, environment and law networks are participating through fasts, vigils, exhibitions, bike rides, walks, symposiums, parliamentary lobbying days, symbolic events and other actions to demonstrate that people around the world are calling for nuclear abolition.’
Chain Reaction 2016 is highlighting a number of international opportunities, especially at the United Nations, to make progress on nuclear disarmament, including a case lodged in the International Court of Justice by the Marshall Islands against the nuclear-armed States, the UN Secretary-General’s Five Point Proposal for Nuclear Disarmament, a UN Open Ended Working Group on Taking Forward Multi-lateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations (OEWG), a UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament to take place in 2018, and ‘A Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Our Common Good‘ and international joint statement of mayors, parliamentarians and religious leaders.
‘UNFOLD ZERO will report to the UN Secretary-General, UN General Assembly and governments participating in the OEWG on the Chain Reaction events around the world, in order to influence these processes,’ said Ms Leroy.