International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons

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International Conference to Ban Uranium Weapons in the European Parliament in Brussels, June 2005 23 March 2005

The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) will organise an international conference in the building of the European Parliament in Brussels, on 23 and 24 June 2005. Members of Parliament and scientists will be invited to participate in a debate and in workshops.
29 September 2006 - ICBUW

Conference Programme
'FOR A BAN ON URANIUM WEAPONS'

Thursday June 23, 2005
10.00 Welcome, Board report and country presentations: Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, UK, Italy, US, Japan, Iraq
13.00 Visual action on 'Ban Uranium Weapons' within the EP building
15.00 "Uranium weapons - a multifaceted problem" - Panel debate with guest speakers:
- Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, Head of the Sadr Teaching Hospital at Basra, Iraq
- Dr. Keith Baverstock, former Head of the WHO Radiation Protection Division
- Dr. Manfred Mohr, IALANA Germany, co-author of the Draft Treaty
- Members of the European Parliament and NATO and Euromil

Friday June 24, 2005
10.00 Presentation/workshop on the campaign 'Banks investing in Arms and Uranium Weapons' by Inez Louwagie - Network Flanders
11.00 Presentation/workshop on the illegality of Uranium Weapons, arguments and instruments
- Introduction: Avril McDonald, Asser Institute, the Hague
- Questions and discussion
12.00 Presentation/Discussion 'Solidarity and support to the uranium weapons victims - epidemiology'
- Dr. Toshi Inoshita - Japan Iraq Medical Network JIM-NET
- Ms. Gretel Munroe , Grassroots Actions for Peace
- Dr. Katsumi Furitsu - Campaign against Radiation Exposure, CARE
13.00 ICBUW team work, team presentations, introduction ICBUW friends
18.00 Closing event at the European Parliament

The purpose of the ICBUW conference in the dialogue with the European Parliament

ICBUW wants to prepare the ground to reintroduce and to update about the exact state of affairs in the campaign and in the uranium weapons issue.

The European Parliament can take an active interest in supporting the aims of the campaign for a Ban on Uranium Weapons.

ICBUW would especially want parliamentarians to co-operate in setting up a feedback mechanism with national parliaments, because one of the most important political aims of ICBUW is to gain the support of countries in striving for a ban.

The European Parliament as a whole can encourage this process, by providing a forum and resources for the necessary international debate between the national parliamentarians, NGO?s, experts, victims organisations, soldiers trade unions etc. Such a forum function would encourage the vital initiatives at the national level. This process should not be restricted to EU countries, but also reach beyond them to all countries concerned with this issue.

The EP can stress the need for more independent medical and environmental impact research (both long term and short term) and can call on the Member States of EU and NATO to propose that a moratorium be placed on this type of weaponry 'in accordance with the precautionary principle' as defined by Council and Parliament on several occasions. ICBUW expects that the EP has to handle in accordance with their own Resolutions.

ICBUW is founded, because governments and many national politicians have deserted the victims. The fact that situations such as these exist has a profoundly negative effect on policy making, by corroding public trust in science and technology. This public trust can be only restored by - indeed - 'more independent medical and environmental impact research (both long term and short term).' ICBUW welcomes this attitude and is of the opinion that the EP can play a significant role to bring the uranium weapons issue to a higher level.

Background

Because of the radiological and chemical properties of depleted uranium (DU), remnants of deployed uranium weapons cause long-term damage to living creatures and the environment. Uranium oxide dust particles can be carried away by the wind and can enter the food chain. In 2002, scientific data at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (Maryland, USA) demonstrated that DU at ph7 can induce oxidative DNA damage and that it can induce carcinogenic lesions, only by means of its chemical toxicity. (1)

On 13 February 2003 the European Parliament adopted a Resolution (2) in which it stated that:

- "NATO has not banned uranium weapons;
- credible efforts are needed to ensure that any use of such weapons is not in violation of the Additional Protocol I to the Convention on Conventional Weapons;
- international law does not currently provide for compensation for possible harmful effects of such weapons systems;
- EU citizens serving as civilian and military members of peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations could have been, and could yet become, victims of such weapons when engaged in humanitarian civilian and military missions and potentially under future ESDP missions."

In this Resolution the European Parliament "requests the Member States to immediately implement a moratorium on the further use of depleted uranium ammunition (and other uranium warheads), pending the conclusions of a comprehensive study of the requirements of international humanitarian law."

Until today the European Member States did not establish these recommendations, due to the fact that some Member States possess uranium weapons and to their co-operation with NATO.

(1) Depleted uranium-catalyzed oxidative DNA damage: absence of significant alpha particle decay, Alexandra C. Miller et al.,Applied Cellular Radiobiology Department, AFRRI, in Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, Vol. 91 (1), 25 July 2002, pp. 246-252
(2) Unexploded ordnance and depleted uranium ammunition. P5_TA(2003)0062.