The Saintes Appeal for a Nuclear-free Europe

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The 3rd Rally for International Disarmament, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (3rd RID-NBC) was successfully held in Saintes (Charente-Maritime, France) from May 9 to 11, 2008.

Three days of spirited debates held in French and in English, with simultaneous translation, afforded a unique opportunity for more than 200 participants to exchange information and deepen their understanding of a topic on which depends, at least in part, the future of humanity. Together, they shared moments that were richly rewarding, as suggested by the list of activities : expositions, round tables, workshops, exposés, debates, video-conferences, films, slide presentations, concerts and artistic performances, symbolic events, informal conversations and convivial meals shared together.

In a final declaration, they asserted their conviction that gatherings such as these, regardless of whether participants agree or disagree with each other, deserve to be supported by institutions and persons of goodwill, all those who are convinced that peace is to be obtained and developed through dialogue, and not through the denial of free speech, intimidation, or the use of arms.

At the close of proceedings the participants in plenary session adopted several resolutions, including the Appeal below, now known under the name of "The Saintes Appeal", which is submitted for signature by all NGOs and citizens agreeing with its content.

The Saintes Appeal

APPEAL FOR A NUCLEAR-FREE EUROPE

For a Europe of peace and security, free from nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants

1. Europe is made up of peoples living on the same continent, grouped in states and nations with different languages and cultures, who have sometimes worked together and sometimes fought, and who draw from this long common history the desire to become a single cultural and political entity founded on values and aspirations that are capable of harmonising their differences and preserving peace.

2. Europe, thus defined by her peoples’ awareness and acceptance of having a shared destiny, needs to learn the lessons of her own past in both its high points and its tragedies, so as toenvision and build a future that matches her values and aspirations.

3. During the long historical process that formed her, Europe made contributions to the arts, science and technology, to human thought and creation, but also experienced numerous wars, colonised other parts of the globe, provoked two world wars, suffered and exported dictatorships, and reached a paroxysm of violence by inventing concentration camps and genocidal totalitarianisms.

4. At the end of this long process, respect for the human person became the first and foremost value of Europe, all others being subordinate to it. This value carries numerous consequences in the political, social, economic, judicial, military, moral and cultural domains.

5. The right of peoples to determine their future is another recognised value.

6. Democracy, or government of the people by the people and for the people, is one of the other values that Europe recognises. At once a means of reconciling contradictory aspirations and an ideal constantly pursued, democracy is a key component of Europe past, present and future.

7. From now on, European citizens consider that respect for persons and consolidation of democracy are the best guarantees of just and lasting peace, within the European continent and globally.

8. The existing institutions of the European Union are a useful framework for building a peaceful and peaceable Europe, but must be made more democratic through processes that are themselves democratic; thus, citizens must be consulted directly on important questions involving their future, Europe’s future, and to some extent the world’s.

9. A European constitution drawing on the best gains of the past, defining the Europe to be built, and situating it in the world, is one those major questions which must be settled by referendum.

10. The means of preserving peace and guaranteeing collective security belongs among them also.

11. The models of production, consumption. Exchange, relationships with nature and environmental protection belong among them also, as choices our civilisation must make.

12. For these various reasons, nuclear energy - in its civilian and military aspects - ought now to be subject to collective decision-making and democratic consultation (and should have been in the past). The peoples of Europe need to take control of this question.

In this perspective, we, citizens of Europe and of the world, adopt the following demands, and call on citizens of all European countries to share them:

1. From the Atlantic to the Urals, no nuclear weapon must be stationed or installed in Europe any longer.

2. Nuclear weapons must not threaten Europe or any other part of the world.

3. Europe must initiate, pursue in good faith, and bring to a successful conclusion the process of abolishing nuclear weapons everywhere, as required by Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

4. The Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament must achieve this result by whatever means are required.

5. The Vienna-based IAEA must cease its promotion of nuclear energy and devote itself exclusively to monitoring civilian and military nuclear installations, preventing the diverting of fissile materials towards the building of new weapons, and aiding in the dismantling of existing weapons and nuclear plants.

6. The Vienna-based Organisation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty must become operational.

7. All possible light must be shed on the real causes and consequences of nuclear catastrophes such as Cheliabynsk and Chernobyl.

8. The 1959 agreement between the IAEA and the WHO, which forces the WHO to spread disinformation and lies about nuclear matters, must be abrogated.

9. The EURATOM Treaty must be abrogated and no new nuclear plant must be built.

10. Europe must become a totally nuclear-free zone, so as to contribute to total denuclearisation of the planet without waiting for similar action by other states or continents.

We call on Europe’s citizens, NGOs, states and people to unite and take action to achieve these objectives in the shortest possible time.

Saintes, France, 11 May 2008

First signatories

- Jean-Marie Matagne, Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire (ACDN, France)

- Wayne Hall, Enouranois Network (Grèce)

- Mikaël Böök, Network Institute for Global Democratization (Finlande)

- Susan George

To add your signature to the Appeal, E-mail this address