A delegation from the Abolition 2000 Global Network for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons visited the Clyde Naval Base in Faslane, Scotland today (19 April 2013) where they released the Faslane Declaration, which calls on the UK to remove the nuclear weapons based in Scotland, abandon nuclear deterrence and join negotiations for global nuclear abolition.
The statement had been adopted at the Abolition 2000 Annual Meeting which was held in Edinburgh over the previous two days, and was jointly released at Faslane and at a meeting in Edinburgh of the Scottish Nuclear Free Local Authorities. Abolition 2000, which promotes a global nuclear abolition treaty (a nuclear weapons convention) brought anti-nuclear activists from around the world to Scotland to support the efforts of Scottish citizens and legislators to establish Scotland as a nuclear-weapon-free zone, to reject the nuclear weapons based in its territory, and to codify this in legislation or constitution.
The Scottish parliament and the majority of Scottish people oppose the basing of nuclear weapons in Scotland. With a referendum on independence next year, there is a very real possibility that Scotland could acquire the authority to evict the nuclear weapons from Faslane – which is currently the only base for the UK nuclear fleet.
Bill Kidd, Member of the Scottish Parliament and one of the hosts of the Abolition 2000 meeting, said, “The two year countdown to the Independence Referendum in the autumn of 2014 will see a number of highlight events and none will be of greater importance than this visit of international activists and experts on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament coming to Scotland and our Parliament.”
At a meeting in parliament on Thursday, Abolition 2000 activists from around the world – including from countries that had rejected nuclear weapons such as Canada and New Zealand – reported on their campaign experiences and offered solidarity to Scotland in its efforts to also reject nuclear weapons. They highlighted new opportunities for global nuclear abolition – such as the United-Nations-initiated Open Ended Working Group established to develop proposals for multilateral negotiations to achieve a nuclear weapons free world.
And they emphasised the role of parliamentarians and the recent initiative of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, comprising over 160 parliaments including the United Kingdom and other nuclear-weapon States, to make a nuclear-weapons-free world a major focus of its work for the next year (See Nuclear Weapons Free World – focus of 2014 assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union).
While in Faslane, the Abolition 2000 delegation visited the Faslane Peace Camp in order to “commend the non-violent direct actions undertaken at Faslane to expose the catastrophic threats to humanity and the environment, and oppose the UK nuclear weapons based there.”