An alliance of more than 2,000 nongovernmental organizations in 95 countries, Abolition 2000 was established in April 1995 by Global Resource Action Center for the Environment president Alice Slater. One of its key founding members was David Krieger, founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. From its inception, Abolition 2000's mission was to help achieve, for the sake of “our common security,” the “definite and unconditional abolition of nuclear weapons” from the earth by the turn of the century. When it subsequently became apparent that this target date would not be met, the organization settled on what it deemed a more pragmatic timetable: the year 2020.
Abolition 2000's founding declaration calls for prompt “negotiations on a nuclear weapons abolition convention that requires the phased elimination ... within a timebound framework”; “an unconditional pledge [by all nations] not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons”; the drafting of “a truly comprehensive test ban treaty ... [to be signed] by all states”; a prohibition against “the military and commercial production and reprocessing of all weapons-usable radioactive materials”; the creation of “additional nuclear weapons-free zones”; and the formation of an international energy agency to promote the development of "sustainable and environmentally safe energy sources.”
In 1997, Abolition 2000 adopted the Moorea Declaration, a signally vague statement of solidarity with unnamed “colonized and indigenous peoples” victimized by the “environmental degradation and human suffering that is the legacy of fifty-two years of nuclear weapons usage, testing, and production.”
Four years later Abolition 2000 adopted the Saffron Walden Declaration, which condemned not only America's “immoral and illegal quest for global domination,” but also its “drive to weaponize and nuclearize space.” In a broad indictment of globalization, the Declaration identified the West's “unsustainable levels of consumption” of “world resources” as the primary cause of a “rising tide of discontent at the economic inequity and lack of social justice among the vast majority of the earth's people.”
Abolition 2000 has traditionally looked with less favor on the nuclear arsenals of the U.S. than on those of America's enemies. In 2003, for instance, two Abolition 2000 leaders were among the signatories to a letter—addressed to the highest-level political leaders of the United States and several other countries—rejecting any “attempts to use force, sanctions, threats of sanctions, [or] regime change” in dealing with the nuclear aspirations of Communist North Korea. Asserting that America's large nuclear arsenal invariably caused other nations to perceive the U.S. as an imperialist aggressor, the letter justified North Korea's "understandable" desire "to defend itself" by developing its own nuclear capabilities.
In 2002-03, parallel reasoning informed Abolition 2000's opposition to America's preparation for war against Iraq's Baathist regime, which was widely believed to be engaged in an illicit nuclear weapons program. Omitting any mention of Saddam Hussein's past campaigns of mass murder, the coalition instead was “gravely concerned ... that the U.S. would again use nuclear weapons,” as it had previously done in 1945. “Even if Iraq is found to possess WMDs or their components, the U.S. approach is wrong,” said Abolition 2000, contending that such weapons “cannot and should not be eliminated through the use of force.”
Moreover, Abolition 2000 characterized America's policy towards Iraq as "selective and hypocritical," in light of the fact that “the U.S. continues to support Israel, which has nuclear weapons as well as a long record of noncompliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions, and which has occupied Palestine for decades.”
In 2003, Abolition 2000 launched a “Mayors for Peace” initiative that aimed to bring mayors from around the world together in support of completing negotiations for nuclear disarmament by 2005.
In September 2004, Abolition 2000 concentrated its energies on “Boycott Bush,” a grassroots organizing effort to boycott U.S. products as a means of protesting America's alleged violations of “international law.”
Today, Abolition 2000 features the following active Working Groups (WGs):
The Economic Dimensions of Nuclearism WG suggests that worldwide economic downturns and government austerity cuts have “made cost of nuclear weapons more salient in nuclear disarmament debates.”
The De-Alerting WG calls on both the U.S. and Russia to take more than 2,000 nuclear bombs off “high-alert status,” a term applied to weapons that can be launched in less than 20 minutes.
The Citizen Weapons Inspections WG seeks to organize “citizen weapons inspections of known weapons sites in states with nuclear arsenals.”
The Depleted Uranium WG gathers and disseminates information and health data on the toxic effects of this material to human well-being and the environment.
The Fissile Materials WG compiles a “shadow inventory” of nuclear materials worldwide, “in lieu of the accounting for these materials which governments have failed to provide.”
The Indigenous Peoples’ Issues WG serves as a forum for the exchange of information, research and news on “nuclear issues affecting indigenous communities across the globe.”
The Mayors for Peace WG aims to enroll mayors around the world to work for a nuclear weapons convention by 2020.
The Missile Ban WG lays “the groundwork to develop a worldwide missile ban.”
The Nuclear Weapons Convention WG promotes “consideration of and negotiations towards” a Nuclear Weapons Convention that would “prohibit the development, production, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons and provide for their elimination.”
Abolition 2000 itself belongs to the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition. The Seventh Generation Fund, the EarthWays Foundation, and the Lifebridge Foundation have awarded grants to Abolition 2000.
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