Why Indonesia must ratify the global nuclear weapon ban treaty

Say No to Nuclear … Members attend the signing ceremony for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on September 20, 2017 at the United Nations in New York. Image: Jakarta Post

By Deandra Madeena Moerdaning in Vienna

A year ago on July 7, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that pushes forward a new treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The agreement is the first of its kind that categorically prohibits nuclear weapons and hence focuses merely on disarmament. The treaty will only enter into force once 50 nations have ratified and acceded to it.

As a nation whose representative was among vice-presidents leading negotiations of the treaty and as a vocal opponent of nuclear weapons, it is crucial that Indonesia ratifies the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty immediately.

Here are the key reasons why:

  • As a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and a coordinator of its working group on disarmament and nonproliferation since 1994, Indonesia was among co-sponsors of the resolution.
  • Indonesia signed this UN Treaty on September 20, 2017, the day when it opened for signature at the UN headquarters in New York. Ironically, Indonesia is not among the ten nations that have ratified the treaty through national legislation.

It is of vital importance that Jakarta maintains its leadership role and show commitment to shared international security interests of developing countries, the majority of NAM member states. Jakarta and NAM have always been vocal about attempts to eliminate double standards in international security, particularly regarding nuclear security.

Excellent example
On top of being an excellent example to ASEAN countries regarding compliance with non-proliferation regimes, Jakarta continues to encourage ASEAN member states and beyond to improve the persistently slow progress of the nuclear disarmament.

In a joint effort with ASEAN member states to combat the threat of nuclear weapons, during its chairmanship of the Association Jakarta opened the door for consultations between member states and nuclear-weapon states (NWS), to encourage the latter to sign the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ).


Jakarta was praised for its efforts in promoting the spirit of the treaty beyond the region.

By ratifying the new Treaty, ASEAN member states would prove their determination to disarmament and making the region free from all kind of nuclear threats. Currently, only Thailand and Vietnam have ratified the treaty.

Others, including Indonesia, were had signed the deal, while Singapore chose to abstain.

Indonesia should immediately follow the path of Thailand and Vietnam and together persuade Singapore to support the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty in the spirit of Southeast Asia’s nuclear weapons-free zone.

Once all ASEAN member states have ratified the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, they can continue pressing wider acceptance of SEANWFZ to nuclear weapon states.

Previous failure
The previous 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference was dubbed a failure due to absence of consensus on nuclear disarmament. Thus all parties including Indonesia must prepare themselves better for the next 2020 Conference and keep trying to achieve a shared vision on disarmament.

The 2015 conference manifested the non-nuclear-weapon states’ concerns over the scale and pace of disarmament.

These states believe there have been too many restrictions and demands for them regarding peaceful use of nuclear technology. They also think nuclear weapon states have been ignoring their obligation to disarm their nuclear arsenals.

The 2020 Conference will be an excellent platform to reaffirm Jakarta’s demand for nuclear disarmament and security as well as to pressure nuclear weapon states to manifest their commitment to nuclear disarmament.

Indonesian delegates should continue expressing concerns about international security, including the US administration’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

According to the Foreign Ministry, Affairs, Indonesia regrets this decision as Jakarta believes that the JCPOA is an achievement of diplomacy and can maintain stability in the region and the world. Indonesia is still optimistic about the future of JCPOA and hence urges other JCPOA’s signatories to maintain support for the agreement.

Nuclear weapons present a real and imminent threat to humanity, thus Indonesia should not loosen efforts towards nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Ratifying the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons means Jakarta is greatly concerned about the slow pace of disarmament.

Deandra Madeena Moerdaning earned her master’s degree from King’s College in London’s War Studies Department. She is interning at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

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Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Keith Locke: Israel’s anti-nuclear whistleblower more deserving of NZ citizenship

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Keith Locke: Israel’s anti-nuclear whistleblower more deserving of NZ citizenship

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

Mordechai Vanunu holding a copy of the London Sunday Times article that landed him in jail, in Jerusalem after his release in 2004. Image: Haaretz

OPINION: By Keith Locke

No self-respecting country sells its passports to rich people who don’t even live there, which is why it was so bad to grant New Zealand citizenship to the American multi-billionaire Peter Thiel.

Section 9 of the Citizenship Act 1977 does allow for citizenship to be granted in “exceptional circumstances” of a “humanitarian” nature, but this hardly applies to the super-rich Theil.

American multi-billionaire Peter Thiel (right) with US President Donald Trump. Image: The Daily Blog

I am familiar with the Act’s “humanitarian” clause because, when an MP,  I used it in trying to get NZ citizenship for Israel’s anti-nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu  back in 2005.

Vanunu was keen to get New Zealand citizenship so that he could leave Israel, where he was still being persecuted despite being released from jail after serving an 18 year sentence (11 in solitary confinement) for exposing Israel’s nuclear weapons programme.

Vanunu’s post-release conditions included no contact with foreigners and a prohibition on leaving the country.

On 22 March 2005 I sent a letter to the then Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff arguing that “it would be very appropriate for New Zealand as a nuclear-free country to grant Mr Vanunu citizenship and give him a New Zealand passport. This humanitarian act would be applauded around the world by those opposed to the Israeli bomb and nuclear proliferation, and who hold Mr Vanunu in high regard for his sacrifice to the anti-nuclear cause.”

Phil Goff, now mayor of Auckland, replied to me that an “offer of New Zealand citizenship to Mr Vanunu is a somewhat empty political gesture when he is prevented from leaving Israel.”

Important ‘political gesture’
My opinion was that it would be both an important “political gesture” and a practical one. Once Vanunu had NZ citizenship he could renounce his Israeli citizenship, as he wanted to do, and there would be greater pressure on Israel to allow him to leave.

At the time, my efforts on Vanunu’s behalf received significant coverage internationally, on the BBC and in Israeli newspapers like Haaretz.

That was in 2005. Twelve years on Vanunu is still subject to restrictions on his movements and associations. On January 27 this year he tweeted that he is returning to the Supreme Court to petition for an end to all restrictions so that he can leave Israel.

There have been efforts in other countries, such as Sweden, Norway and Ireland, to obtain a new citizenship for Vanunu.

In Norway, he has the strongest case because he is now married to a Norwegian university professor, Kristin Joachimsen. But all the efforts on Vanunu’s behalf have so far failed. Western governments fear offending Israel.

Over the years Vanunu has won a pile of international peace and human rights awards, and in 2004 the students at the University of Glasgow elected him to a three-year terms as their Rector.

New Zealand would be honoured to have such a brave anti-nuclear campaigner as a citizen. It would be great if a new approach could be made to the New Zealand government on his behalf.

Granting Vanunu citizenship would also enhance our international reputation, which has been tarnished by the provision of a New Zealand passport to Peter Thiel, just because of his wealth.

Unlike Peter Thiel, Mordechai Vanunu would actually like to live here.

Keith Locke is a commentator on foreign affairs at The Daily Blog and a former New Zealand Green Party MP.