Seminar on uranium weapons in the Swedish parliament
In mid June, ICBUW members ARK and the Nordic Network to Ban DU Weapons organised a seminar in the Swedish parliament, in cooperation with parliamentarians Peter Rådberg (Swedish Green party) and Torbjörn Björlund (Swedish Left party).
Far left: MP Peter Rådberg (Green party), far right MP Torbjörn Björlund (Left party), centre: Anita Lilburn and members of ARK
Invited speakers at the event included radiation protection expert Dr Keith Baverstock (formerly of the WHO) and Ria Verjauw of the Belgian Coalition Stop Uranium Weapons. The meeting was facilitated by ARK chair, Anita Lilburn, with an introduction by Torbjörn Björlund MP.
Dr Baverstock focused his presentation on DU’s carcinogenicity, discussing the findings of a range of studies that indicate that DU’s alpha radiation is a carcinogen, a fact noted by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Ria Verjauw then spoke on the development of Belgium’s historic ban on DU weapons and the ban on the financing of DU weapon manufacturers that followed. Costa Rica’s recent decision to ban the weapons was also on the agenda, as was the question mark over the possible use of DU munitions in Libya. Concluding her presentation, Ria called on the parliamentarians to work help the global ban movement by working for a domestic ban in Sweden.
Participants also watched the award winning film U238 by Costa Rican director Pablo Ortega.
Following the presentations, attendees asked whether it was possible to decontaminate areas where DU is used; what the likelihood of a global ban is in the near future and whether the precautionary principle is still a relevant argument in favour of a ban. Questions were also addressed to the MPs present; they were asked whether the Swedish government knows which US weapons have been tested on Swedish firing ranges and whether Sweden would join a network of countries working for a ban on the weapons.
At the end of the event, ARK and the Nordic Network handed over a letter to the assembled parliamentarians:
At the parliamentary seminar “The Toxicity of DU and the Road to a Public Ban” on June 16th 2011 ARK and the Nordic Network Against Uranium weapons request Swedish parliamentarians
- to address the issue of DU weapons and the issue of Sweden’s role in the radioactive warfare against Iraq, in questions, motions and interpellations
-to request from the Swedish government their active support within the UN for an international ban on DU weapons
-to request from the government complete transparency regarding the question of possible Swedish manufacturing, sale, and possession of DU weapons and regarding Swedish-produced weapon systems designed for firing DU missiles.
- to request from the government full insight into what kind of weapons are tested on Swedish territory and by whom,
-to request the government to make an investigation into the consequences for the population and the wild life in the areas where testing of weapons has taken place.
MPs Björlund and Rådberg promised to consider their requests and said that this initiative in the Parliament would be followed by other initiatives on DU weapons in the very near future.