Brussels Appeal for a Ban on Uranium Weapons
The European Parliament has shown that the people of Europe wish to see an end to the use of uranium weapons. Last year, parliamentarians called for an outright ban on their use; this built on three previous calls for a moratorium. On 22nd March this year, and after a unanimous vote in parliament, Belgium became the first country in the world to introduce a domestic ban on their manufacture, use, storage, sale, acquisition, supply and transit.
We call on all European governments to follow Belgium’s example and ban the use and manufacture of uranium weapons in their territories.
In Brussels, we have listened to the military, scientists and the victims of uranium weapons. From mine to battlefield, uranium products have been implicated in a trail of illness, environmental damage and death. The latest peer-reviewed research continues to highlight uranium’s ability to damage human health through its chemical toxicity and radioactivity, while claims by the nuclear industry and the military that low-level radiation is not harmful to human health must be rigorously challenged.
We call on scientists from all backgrounds to assist in assessing the dangers associated with the chemical and radiological toxicity of uranium. Its unique properties when aerosolized are a hazard to human health and the environment.
We strongly condemn the United States and United Kingdom, whose armed forces have used large quantities of uranium weapons in Iraq and the Balkans. Evidence that US forces continue to use uranium munitions in Afghanistan remains an area of genuine concern. The UK and particularly the US have also been active in the proliferation of uranium weapons to militaries worldwide.
We call on the media around the world, especially in the US and UK, to investigate the issue of uranium weapons. It is imperative that they inform citizens about the issue, and the global abolition movement.
The use of uranium weapons is illegal under international humanitarian, human rights and environmental law. The United Nations Human Rights Sub-Committee has condemned them, like nuclear, chemical and cluster munitions, as: weapons of indiscriminate destruction, with long-term consequences for the environment, human health and life, which cause civilian suffering for years after the cessation of hostilities. Furthermore, the dust created by DU weapons does not recognise national boundaries.
In light of this ruling, and a growing body of compelling scientific research, we support an adherence to the Precautionary Principle, and will use each and every legal tool and instrument at our disposal to secure the full implementation of a complete and lasting ban. ICBUW will follow in the successful footsteps of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Cluster Munitions Coalition in pursuing an explicit treaty to ban the use of uranium in all conventional weapon systems.
We reiterate our support for ICBUW's Mission Statement, which calls for:
i) An immediate and universal ban on the military use of uranium and other radioactive materials.
ii) The cleaning up of all sites contaminated by these weapons with compensation for all affected populations.
iii) A halt to the production, testing, sale, stockpiling, transport and export of these weapons and a decommissioning of all existing stockpiles.
iv) The immediate medical assessment, treatment and long term monitoring of all those who have been exposed to uranium weaponry.
v) The full disclosure of all locations where uranium weapons have been used as well as the amounts of uranium involved.
vi) Financial support from organisations and individuals to provide independent medical and environmental investigations in affected countries.
vii) We call on governments to exclude their troops from alliance with any government that uses uranium munitions.
viii) The successful implementation of a Convention for a Total Ban of Uranium Weapons.
We, the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, call on all states to support our Draft Resolution: Concerns About Weapons Containing Depleted Uranium at the First Committee of the UN General Assembly this autumn.
We also call on the international community to act now to support our campaign to prevent the continued chemical and radiological contamination of this, our shared Earth, and to support those populations already affected by military uranium pollution.