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DU Ban Petition Submitted to New Zealand House of Representatives

One of the ICBUW member organisations based in New Zealand, the Depleted Uranium Education Team (DUET), submitted a 2,780 signature petition to the House of Representatives of New Zealand on February 21.
22 February 2008 - ICBUW

Rob Ritchie of DUET and the Disarmament and Security Centre, handed the petition papers to Tim Barnett MP (Labour) and Keith Locke MP (Greens) on the steps of Parliament. Hon Harry Duynhoven MP (Labour), Minister for Transport Safety and Associate Minister of Energy, also joined the discussion with the anti-DU campaigners.

DU Ban Petition is Handed to NZ MPs

L-R Alyn Ware, Katsumi Furitsu, Katherine Peet, Rob Ritchie, Tim Barnett MP and Keith Locke MP.
Photographer: Michael Ritchie

The petition requests: 'that the House emulate the Belgian Parliament’s decision of 22 March 2007 by prohibiting in New Zealand the manufacture, use, storage, sale, acquisition, supply and transit of inert munitions and armour that contain depleted uranium or any other industrially manufactured uranium.'

The petition was forwarded to the Clerk of the House immediately and later announced in the parliament that same afternoon.

Campaigners from various peace organisations based in New Zealand were at the action: Robert Ritchie (DUET), Katherine Peet (DUET), Edwina Hughes (Peace Movement Aotearoa, one of the ICBUW members in NZ), Alyn Ware (Peace Foundation) and Nermin Ali Abd El-Ghany (Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament)

Katsumi Furitsu, a member of ICBUW Steering Committee, attending the Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions, joined the action with the New Zealand friends, and handed a letter to Tim Barnett MP on behalf of the ICBUW Steering Committee. She said: “We should never allow them to make more victims of DU and contamination on this planet.”

The campaigners also requested that MPs urge the New Zealand government to submit a positive report to the UN Secretary General, showing the harmful effects of the fine DU particles produced by DU weapons on human health and the environment. This is in line with last December's UN General Assembly resolution entitled 'Effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium.'

The campaigners hope that MPs will encourage the coalition government to become a leader in the global movement to ban DU - an inhumane and indiscriminate weapon - just as they have done with nuclear disarmament and the Oslo Process.

MP Tim Barnett said: “New Zealand has long been a leader in standing up for truth about dangerous weapons. This petition offers an opportunity for New Zealand to take a long and considered look at the risk which Depleted Uranium armaments represent to the health of both civilians and military personnel.”

Robert Ritchie said: “The petition hand-over today makes a good start for us to now begin lobbying individual members of our parliament. We will of course continue collecting signatures for the petition right up to the day when a vote is eventually taken in the House.”