Marshall Islands awarded for stance against nuclear powers
For its stance against the nuclear powers, Marshall Islands has been awarded the alternate Nobel prize.
The Marshall Islands' foreign minister is reiterating his call for nuclear powers to honour their promise to disarm.
Tony deBrum made the statement while accepting the alternate Nobel prize on behalf of his country.
The award is in recognition of the Marshalls' courage in challenging the nuclear powers' failure to honour Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations.
The country's lawsuit against the United States was dismissed by the federal court on constitutional grounds in February, but Mr de Brum says the country is appealing the decision.
He told Koroi Hawkins he was delighted with the award.
TONY DE BRUM: I don't think it has quite sunk in yet what a great honour this is for us. But I am very happy and anxious to share it with the people I represent.
KH: The award is for your quite historic move to take legal action against the nuclear powers of the world.
TDB: Something that I have always wanted to do, to bring up the issue of nuclear sanity in such a way that the big countries that possess these weapons begin to act responsibly in their nuclear policies. We all joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as small island countries because the big countries were there and made a promise to disarm as part of the treaty. So it seems unfair and unjust that we all signed up to the agreement only to find that the countries that were supposed to act in a responsible manner and start to negotiate disarmament take the position that they will do so sometime, even though it has been a very long while that the treaty has been in effect, no one has made a move to actually disarm. As a country that has seen and experienced some of the impacts of these deadly weapons we thought that it was incumbent upon us to do something, to point out the folly of having an agreement and not carry out what you promised you'd do.
KH: How many countries have you taken on, how many of the nuclear powers?
TDB: All of them, including South Africa and Israel.
KH: I understand with the Nuclear Zero lawsuit in the US, that has undergone some action, it was dismissed by the court but you are appealing it?
TDB: Dismissed not on substance, but on process and on rules and on a question of whether or not we had jurisdiction. It has nothing to do with the substance of the lawsuit. They have done this on other lawsuits pertaining to nuclear issues that have been filed by citizens of our country, so we appealed it questioning the logic of the court that decided it. The argument was that we cannot prove direct harm if they do not carry out the mandate of the treaty. But we can. The direct harm is we're threatened. The threat of nuclear weapons is most real, it's not imagined. Because we've seen what it does. And not only that, but having these weapons in such large quantities, in such powerful amounts, is a threat to the world. Because not only can they be used deliberately to obliterate what we know of civilisation but they can also be accidentally set upon each other and destroy the world. That threat is just as real as actually seeing them being exploded in the distance.
KH: What is the end game here? What is it that you are pushing for all the nuclear powers to do, what is it that you want?
TDB: To sit down at the table and disarm. To talk about disarmament. To reduce the weapons of the world, to stop the folly of spending millions and billions and trillions of dollars just to maintain, upgrade and make even more deadly these already deadly weapons. That's what we want. That's what they promised to do in the treaty, that is why we joined the treaty.
KH: Do you think this award will help or give you some momentum in your fight?
TDB: Yes, I think it will focus attention on what we are trying to do. It also is I think a signal that other like-minded people in the world think we are doing the right thing. They would not have chosen us for the award if they thought that it was folly. I think they see the reasonable goal they have set for ourselves in bringing this matter to the court, and I think that in itself is a great honour.
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