The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has welcomed the announcement that a special investigator will be appointed to probe allegations of war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan and prosecute any criminal misconduct, following a four-year inquiry into possible breaches of law between 2005 and 2016.
In its media release, IPAN’s spokesperson, Dr Alison Broinowski, called on this process to be public and transparent and not determined behind closed doors. The media release also called on the following measures to be adopted::
Expunge brutality and disregard for human life from the culture of the defence forces;
Extend the investigation to determine the political responsibility for sending the ADF into Afghanistan and whether that constitutes, in itself, a war crime.
For the fourth year in a row, members of Marrickville Peace Group have made their own, special contribution to the official Armistice Day event. This year, six stood in solemn vigil outside the cordon surrounding the service at the Cenotaph in Martin Place. Each displayed the Quaker slogan “HONOUR THE WAR DEAD BY ENDING WAR!”.
On October 24, 2020, the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) reached the required 50 states parties for its entry into force, after Honduras ratified just one day after Jamaica and Nauru submitted their ratifications. The treaty will enter into force on January 22, 2021, instituting a ban on nuclear weapons, 75 years after their first use.
This milestone means the treaty will become international law on January 22, 2021, increasing pressure on nuclear armed states and other countries to support the treaty. The treaty now has 84 signatories and 50 states parties.
Below is a statement by ICAN Australia dated October 24, 2020 in recognition of this milestone:
History was made today as the number of countries ratifying the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons reached 50. Honduras ratified the treaty overnight bringing the world a step closer to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Just a day ago, on United Nations Day, Jamaica and Nauru ratified the treaty.
A controversial Bill is to be debated in the Senate.
If enacted, according to lawyer Kelly Tranter, it would authorise the use of foreign military and police forces and gives them the same immunity from legal liabilities as Australian forces. Tranter writes: “The use of a foreign army or militarised police force should not be allowed at all, and certainly not without the safeguard of citizens’ rights of access to courts.”
MPG sees the legislation as a missed opportunity for creating a proper ‘Civil Defence Force’ to deal with future emergencies, as these are likely to be connected to the impact of the climate crisis (such as fires and floods) or the pandemic, rather than being of a military nature. To take the nation down the path to a more militarised future is to misunderstand the true nature of threats to national security.
MPG has made a submission to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. Read the submission here.
Malaysia has become the 46th nation to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Foreign Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, signed the instrument of ratification on behalf of Malaysia on 30 September 2020. It was deposited with the United Nations later that day. Just four more ratifications are now needed to bring the treaty into force.
In a video address played at the signing ceremony in the nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, to mark the occasion, Hishammuddin Hussein expressed concern that the nuclear-weapon states have been regressing in the area of disarmament.