To: Foreign Minister, Bob Carr
Change Australia's Vote on depleted uranium weapons at the UN in October
We urge the Australian Government 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.
In light of the information and scientific data available on the toxic and radioactive legacy of weapons containing depleted uranium (DU), and in light of Australia’s human rights obligations, we need Australia to move from an abstention to a ‘yes’ vote.
Why is this important?
There is growing international concern about the use of depleted uranium in weapons, and the harm to military personnel, affected communities and eco-systems exposed to its toxicity and radioactivity.
A dramatic rise in birth deformities in the Iraqi city of Basra following the First Gulf War in 1991 is attributed to the US military's use of weapons containing depleted uranium. In the Iraqi city of Fallujah a sharp rise in birth defects began a year after intense U.S military attacks on the city in 2004 which allegedly involved DU weapons.
The babies of Basra and Fallujah are dying from wounds of a war they never saw - the toxic legacy of modern weaponry – it is ‘Agent Orange’ all over again.
Depleted Uranium use presents a clear risk to human health and the environment. This risk is increased through the use of the weapons in civilian areas and against civilian objects, and is further compounded by the inability of affected communities to effectively manage contamination.
The October UN vote calls for greater transparency from the users of depleted uranium munitions, it is the least they can do for now. Then we need a total ban so that this can never happen again. Australia should play it's role and vote YES.