The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes the decision of Norwich City Council to unanimously support a resolution in favour of the international Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). They become the fifth UK Council to do so, and link in to over 130 prominent towns, cities, counties and states who have passed similar resolutions.
Norwich’s resolution was passed unanimously and calls on the UK Government to engage in this multilateral disarmament process at the United Nations, rather than seeking to actively ignore it. It was proposed by Green Party Councillor Lesley Grahame and seconded by the Labour Leader of Norwich City Council, Councillor Alan Waters, and supported by the Liberal Democrats. (1)
Norwich City Council is the latest Council to formally pass a resolution to support the TPNW, the International Treaty that seeks to encourage multilateral nuclear disarmament. In July 2017, 122 UN member states agreed to this treaty, and at present 70 states have signed it with 33 having fully ratified it through their Parliaments. When 50 states ratify the TPNW it will become a core part of international law. The Republic of Ireland are expected to be one of these states when the Treaty gets discussed in the Dail shortly.
However, a vocal group of around 40 states, including the current nuclear weapon states like the United Kingdom, NATO states and those often referred to as nuclear ‘umbrella’ states holding security agreements with nuclear weapon states, such as Japan and Australia, have stubbornly refused to engage with this multilateral disarmament process.
Norwich’s resolution is similar to those made by a large number of towns and cities as part of an initiative cooperating with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the 2017 Nobel Peace Laureate. The ‘ICAN Cities Appeal’ seeks to show to the national governments that oppose the TPNW that there remains strong public support urging them to engage with this diplomatic process.
In the UK, Norwich follows in the footsteps of similar resolutions passed by Manchester, Edinburgh, Renfrewshire and Hebden Royd Councils. Globally they join with over 130 towns and cities, as well as the American State legislatures of California and Oregon and the New Jersey Assembly. Supporting cities include the likes of Sydney, Melbourne, Washington DC, Toronto, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Geneva, Oslo, Zaragoza and Bruges. (2)
NFLA encourages other UK members of NFLA, and of its partner organisation Mayors for Peace, to pass a similar resolution.
NFLA Steering Committee and English Forum Chair Councillor David Blackburn said: “I am delighted to hear that Norwich City Council are the latest to pass a resolution to support the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty. By such cross-party actions councillors are showing their strong support for a multilateral approach to nuclear disarmament and informing the UK Government that it should completely reconsider its policy on nuclear weapons. I urge other Councils to follow the example set by Norwich and join in with the work of NFLA, ICAN and the Mayors for Peace.”
The proposer of the Norwich City Council resolution, Councillor Lesley Grahame said: “The threat of nuclear attack overshadowed my youth and made me get political some decades ago. I’m glad Norwich City Council has agreed that our government should support the prohibition of nuclear weapons. I’ve never understood how anyone could expect to make the world safer through mass killing.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) Norwich Green Party Media Release – https://norwich.greenparty.org.uk/news/2019/09/30/city-council-against-nuclear-weapons/
(2) ICAN Cities Appeal – http://nuclearban.org/cities