2013 – Latest news…

The UN on depleted uranium weapons was held in December last year and there’s good news and bad news.

Here’s the result of the vote: UN General Assembly supports precautionary approach to depleted uranium weapons http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/unga-2012-vote

The good news is that 155 nations voted in favour, only four against, and 27 abstained – stronger figures than the vote held two years ago.

The bad news is: Australian abstained again. Unfortunately this was not unexpected as in the weeks prior to the vote the noises coming out of Canberra was that the pressure from the US was intense.

What a disappointing result for Australians! Please feel free to express your disappointment to Foreign Minister, Bob Carr. Here is my analysis of it: Australia proves a soft touch at the UN over toxic warfare which was published on Eureka Street.

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=34353

I was pleased to have the popular women’s website Mamamia pick up my story which they titled “You’ve never seen a face as a mother watching her baby die.” It meant getting the story out to a huge readership, which would not normally see it…

http://www.mamamia.com.au/health-wellbeing/birth-defects-iraqi-cities/#comment-1345111

So what’s next? For me, this week  ( 1Feb 2013) I’m heading back to Iraq to continue to gather stories and document this issue and am excited to announce that film maker David Bradbury plans to accompany me to document this story. Many of you would know of David’s work – he is one of Australia’s best known and most successful documentary filmmakers. His films have been shown on all the major Australian commercial and public broadcast networks as well as overseas. He has won countless international film festival prizes and been the winner of five AFI awards and two Academy Award nominations

David has earned an international reputation as a film maker willing to go to extraordinary lengths for a cause, exposing political oppression and environmental vandalism.  More about him here: http://www.frontlinefilms.com.au/profile.htm

The challenge for David is, like most film makers, he works off the smell of an oily rag, and has committed to this story before receiving funding for it. His trip to Iraq is dependent upon scraping together enough funds for his travel expenses in the next 6 weeks.

Can you help this story to be brought to a wider, international audience?  Perhaps purchase one of my books or Rise Up music CD or make a donation? Details below.

Thanks to all for your support last year, it’s been wonderful to meet many of you, come to your areas and speak with your groups. Thanks for your campaigning and for sharing the journey.

As we head towards the 10 year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, here’s to working together so that the voices of the victims of war can be heard.

Donna

PS: If you would like to assist fundraising for the documentary by purchasing copies of my book Ordinary Courage for $25 (+postage) or copies of the CD “Rise up” which features inspirational anti-war music, just reply and we’ll organise it.

PPS: If you are able to donate to the Fallujah documentary appeal and support David’s travel expenses, that would be much appreciated. Account details are: Donna Mulhearn, volunteer expenses, BSB: 062181 a/c: 10305704

Thank you!

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John Murphy MP’s speech to Parliament about UN vote on depleted uranium

Tuesday October 30, 2012

Shortly the United Nations First Committee will consider a resolution calling on nations to take a precautionary approach to the use of depleted uranium weapons. The resolution calls for greater transparency in the use of depleted uranium weapons so that user nations reveal where they have been used so local communities are aware they may be affected. In line with representations made to me by my constituents, I urge the Minister for Foreign Affairs to support a yes vote on this resolution aimed at protecting civilians from long-term harm.

Depleted uranium, or DU, has been used in conventional weapons since 1991 because of its armour-piercing capabilities. It is radioactive, chemically toxic, carcinogenic and genotoxic. About 700 tonnes of DU has been dispersed in Iraq, affecting soldiers and civilians and contaminating land. There was a sharp increase in cancers and child deformities in Iraq after 1991 and after 2003. I have met Donna Mulhearn, an Australian campaigner who has witnessed firsthand the impact of DU on human health when living and working in Iraq. The greatest victims are women, children and the unborn, as well as entire communities struggling to use land for agriculture in a toxic ecosystem.

I note that the Australian Defence Force does not use depleted uranium and holds no stocks of depleted uranium provisions, nor does the government allow other states to use depleted uranium on Australian territory. The Australian Defence Force and the government are wise to take such a precautionary approach considering the well-documented hazards of DU weapons. It would therefore be consistent to extend this precaution to assist civilian communities caught up in conflicts where DU weapons are used.

This concept of simply requiring greater transparency regarding the location of DU weapons is at the heart of the upcoming UN First Committee resolution; therefore, supporting it would be consistent with the cautious approach already taken by the Australian Defence Force and the Australian government. Further, I note that the December 2010 agreement between the government of Australia and the government of the United States of America concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy specifies that Australian uranium not be used for DU munitions. This is a significant and intentional inclusion and again reflects the precautionary approach taken by the Australian government in relation to depleted uranium weapons. This agreement was signed after the previous first committee vote two years ago, at which Australia abstained. To be consistent with this precautionary approach, it is logical that Australia would change its vote from abstaining to voting yes.

OnLine petition: Please sign!

Please sign this online petition urging Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr to vote “Yes” at the United Nations First Committee in October 2012 when a resolution will be moved regarding greater transparency by users of depleted uranium weapons.

At a similar vote two years ago, Australia abstained – we need to change this to a “YES”

You can sign here

Please pass this on to your friends and networks.

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Australians working together to Ban Uranium Weapons

The Australian Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons is a coalition of groups and individuals  working together for:

– An immediate end to the use of uranium weapons.

– an international ban on the use of uranium weapons via UN resolutions and treaties

– Disclosure of all locations where uranium weapons have been used and immediate removal of the remnants and contaminated materials from the sites under strict control.

– Health surveys of the ‘depleted’ uranium victims and environmental investigations at the affected sites.

– Medical treatment and compensation for the ‘depleted’ uranium victims.

– An end to the development, production, stockpiling, testing, trade of uranium weapons.

– Further research into the impact of uranium weapons on human health and eco-systems

Specifically we call on:

– Australian Government support for future international resolutions and treaties to ban uranium weapons

– An Australian Government ban on Australian use of uranium weapons and military action in conjunction with nations that use uranium weapons

– the Australian government to investigate whether Australian uranium exports are being used in weaponry, and if so, as a matter of transparency, reveal where they are being, or have been used in the past

The International Campaign

With more than 100 member organisations in 28 countries worldwide, the International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons represents the best opportunity yet to achieve a global ban on the use of uranium in weapons. Even though the use of weapons containing uranium should already be illegal, an explicit treaty, as has been seen with chemical and biological weapons, landmines and cluster bombs, has proved the best solution for confirming their illegality. Such a treaty would not only outlaw the use of uranium weapons, but would include the prohibition of their production, the destruction of stockpiles, the decontamination of battlefields and rules on compensation for victims.

ICBUW has prepared a draft treaty and is following the successful example of the Cluster Munition Coalition. ICBUW’s grassroots member organisations lobby at a national level (that’s us!), while ICBUW itself works with supranational bodies such as the European Parliament and the United Nations

Australia’s Role: It is vital that Australia supports the draft treaty and this will require a concerted local campaign. Australia did not support a recent UN resolution calling for greater transparency on uranium weapons use, but rather abstained while 148 nations supported it, and only four voted against. We need to send a message to the Australian Government that we want to see our UN vote used to support human rights and victims of war rather than shirk our responsibilities for the sake of the US Alliance.

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Strategy Meeting – December 10, 2pm

ACBUW – Strategy Meeting

Dear friends,

Following the successful launch last month of the Australian Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons, a planning meeting will be held on Dec 10 to map a campaign strategy for next year. If you have ideas, energy or skills to offer, please come along.    

When: 2pm, Saturday December 10, 2011 

Where: Edmund Rice Centre, 15 Henley Rd, Homebush West, (near Flemington Station/plenty of parking)                

For more information, please email acbuw@hotmail.com or phone Donna Mulhearn, 0422 74 9319

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Australians working together to ban uranium weapons

An Invitation

 You are warmly invited to the launch of the Australian Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons

 Please join us on Sunday November 6th 2011 the International Day of Action Against Depleted Uranium Weapons to formally launch this new Australian campaign. November 6th is also the United Nations’ Day for Prevention of the Exploitation of the Environment during Wars and Armed Conflicts.  Depleted uranium  weapons destroy ecosystems leaving areas toxic.

When: 3-4pm, Sunday 6 November 2011      

Where: Edmund Rice Centre, 15 Henley Rd, Homebush West, (near Flemington Station)

Come and hear a first-hand account on the impact depleted uranium has had on communities in Iraq and about the growing world-wide movement to ban the use of these devastating weapons. Find out how together we can raise awareness about the plight of victims, mostly women and children, and ensure their suffering never happens again. As well as planning futures actions, also

  • A message from Campaign Patron: Renowned anti-nuclear campaigner Dr Helen Caldicott
  • Personal Story: Donna Mulhearn
  • Plus new DVD on depleted uranium and up-to-date information on the Fallujah Project

For more information, please email acbuw@hotmail.com or phone Donna Mulhearn, 0422 74 9319, see www.acbuw.org

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