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Costa Rica bans depleted uranium weapons

Landmark domestic legislation makes Costa Rica the second country to pass a national ban
28 April 2011 - ICBUW

On April 27th, the Congress of Costa Rica passed a law prohibiting uranium weapons in its territories, becoming the second country in the world to do so, following the passage of a domestic ban in Belgium in 2007. The law prohibits the use, trade, transit, production, distribution and storage of uranium weapons on Costa Rican territory.

The bill was originally presented by former congressman Alexander Mora Mora, who was also instrumental in guiding the Latin American Parliament in the passage of a resolution calling for the prohibition of uranium weapons, which was approved in September 2009. The Latin American Parliament has encouraged its board to carry out scientific studies in areas where Latin American military personnel and civilians may have come into contact with depleted uranium.

Members of San Jose Quaker Peace Center with Congressman Oscar Alfaro, president of the Human Rights Commission of the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly and president of the Parlatino Human Rights Commission

Members of San Jose Quaker Peace Center with Congressman Oscar Alfaro, president of the Human Rights Commission of the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly and president of the Parlatino Human Rights Commission.

Uranium weapons pose a serious risk to civilians and their use runs counter to several principles of international humanitarian law. The United Nations Human Rights Sub-Committee has condemned them as weapons of indiscriminate effect with long-term consequences for the environment and human health.

This landmark legislation will increase calls by campaigners for similar bills to be passed in other countries. New Zealand and Ireland are discussing legislation for the prohibition of uranium weapons in their territories.

During the two years in which the Costa Rican Congress has been working on this issue, in 2010 they also passed modifications to Costa Rica's Free Trade Zone Law, which prevents companies from producing or selling uranium weapons in Costa Rica's Free Trade zone. These legislative changes have been made possible by the support of many organizations, individuals, legislative assistants, peace center volunteers, students and members of the press.

The campaigns agaist mines and cluster munitions showed that domestic legislation can have a significent normative effect on the perception of controversial weapons. It is hoped that the new Costa Rican legislation will strengthen current efforts for an international treaty banning uranium weapons. The signature of President Laura Chinchilla to formalize the bill is expected in due course.

The passage of the ban comes two years after the First Latin American Conference on Uranium Weapons, which was organised by the San Jose Quaker Peace Center (CAP), the International Depleted Uranium Study Team (IDUST) and ICBUW. Concerted efforts to obtain a ban began in Costa Rica at the beginning of 2009.

A documentary 'Uranio 238' produced by Director Pablo Ortega for the Quaker Peace Center is available for all those interested in helping the campaign to ban uranium weapons. The Quaker Peace Centre is proud to have been chosen to present this production in the First International Uranium Film Festival which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo and other towns in Brazil starting May 21st 2011.

Notes:

URÂNIO EM MOVI(E)MENTO, the 1st INTERNATIONAL URANIUM FILM FESTIVAL Rio de Janeiro May 16st to 28th 2011 - São Paulo June 3th to 5th
http://www.uraniumfilmfestival.org

Attachments

  • Costa Rican amendment banning DU weapons

    25 Kb - Format pdf
    ASAMBLEA LEGISLATIVA DE LA REPÚBLICA DE COSTA RICA
    ADICIÓN DEL ARTÍCULO 26 BIS A LA LEY N.º 7530, LEY DE ARMAS Y EXPLOSIVOS, DE 10 DE JULIO DE 1995, Y SUS REFORMAS