Choosing Humanity: Why Australia should sign the UN nuclear weapon ban treaty

Choosing Humanity is a new publication by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). It sets out the case for Australia to join the global majority of nations in supporting the United Nations' Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). It addresses key criticisms and myths about the TPNW and advises a practical pathway for signature and ratification.

Choosing Humanity showcases a diverse range of voices including faith groups, experts, unions, parliamentarians, the Australian Red Cross and First Nations people impacted by nuclear testing.

The TPNW has strong civil society and political support in Australia. Currently, the Coalition government does not support Australia's accession to the treaty but the Australian Labor Party does.

ICAN Australia, 2019, Choosing Humanity: why Australia must join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapon, www.icanw.org.au/choosinghumanity

Don't Bank on the Bomb

In May, PAX and ICAN launched a new report, Producing mass destruction: Private companies and the nuclear weapons industry. The report is part of the Don't Bank on the Bomb project (dontbankonthebomb.com) and shows how the commercial sector is producing key components of nuclear weapons.

The report provides detailed information about the way governments are contracting at least US$116 billion to private companies in France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, UK, and the US for the production, development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons. For the first time ever, the report also provides some information about a state owned company in China connected to nuclear weapon production that is now attempting to raise money through bond issuances.

There are a few companies that stand out in terms of their overall nuclear weapon related activities, with billions in outstanding contracts. Huntington Ingalls Industries is most heavily involved, with more than US$28 billion in outstanding contracts, and Lockheed Martin is a close runner-up with US$25 billion in contracts.

These companies are part of the nuclear weapons problem. Avoiding business with these companies is a way for others to become part of the solution.

PAX and ICAN, 2019, Producing Mass Destruction: Private companies and the nuclear weapon industry, www.dontbankonthebomb.com/2019_producers-report-final/

Shorting our security

Another report by PAX and ICAN, Shorting our security: Financing the companies that make nuclear weapons, shows that the companies building nuclear weapons are not only receiving billion dollar contracts from the nuclear-armed states, they are also being funded by banks, insurance companies and pension funds.

The report, released in June 2019, also finds that client pressure to stop these investments is working. Over the previous year, almost 100 financial institutions had stopped financing nuclear weapons. Some of these decisions can be traced directly back to the requests made by clients, while others directly cite the TPNW. Most financial institutions want to do two things: make money and keep their clients happy. If you, as a client, aren't happy with how your money is being used, you can demand change. So check your bank, insurance and pension fund today and if they're on the list, give Customer Service a call and tell them: Don't Bank on the Bomb!

Between January 2017 and January 2019, the following Australian banks lent funds to nuclear-weapon producing companies: Macquarie Group US$1,516m; ANZ US$1,314m; Commonwealth Bank US$188m; and Westpac US$1,487.5m.

PAX and ICAN, 2019, Shorting our security: Financing the companies that make nuclear weapons, https://www.dontbankonthebomb.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019_HOS_web.pdf

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Published in Chain Reaction #136, August 2019. National magazine of Friends of the Earth Australia. www.foe.org.au/chain_reaction


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