Unions Hand Over Massive Petition Against Nuclear Weapons to UN

An international trade union petition with over seven million individual signatures demanding an end to nuclear weapons has been handed over to UN on the eve of the Review Conference of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty which started this week.

JTUC-RENGO President and ITUC Vice-President Nobuaki Koga handed the petition to UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson at a special ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York. Most of the seven million signatures were collected by RENGO, with the affiliates on the ITUC General Council also endorsing it on behalf of over 100 million members in total.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said, “The stockpile of nuclear weapons represents a constant threat of mass destruction, and the vast cost of maintaining those arsenals diverts money away from vital global needs. We are hopeful that the new agreement with Iran will reduce the risks and tensions, but nothing less than total nuclear disarmament will do.”

More than US$ 100 billion is spent each year on the world’s nuclear weapons stockpile, and there have been a total of 2,119 nuclear explosions in the past 70 years.

The petition calls for:

  • Every country to join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and give it their full support, to stop the spread of nuclear weapons;
  • A new global agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons by 2020; and
  • The billions spent on nuclear weapons to be used instead for peaceful purposes.