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Scottish First Minister Confirms Rejection of Nuclear Weapons and Support for the Nuclear Ban Treaty

ICAN in Scotland

The Scottish First Minister, in her reply to a letter from Setsuko Thurlow, who at the age of 13 survived the US nuclear attack on Hiroshima, has re-iterated her government's opposition to nuclear weapons and its support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Setsuko Thurlow, who received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), wrote to all the leaders of all the nuclear weapon states, pleading with them to reconsider their opposition to the Treaty2. Exceptionally, she also wrote to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to thank her for Scotland's opposition to nuclear weapons and in recognition of Scotland's potential to play a key role in global disarmament as a significant and distinct part of a nuclear-weapon state which rejects its nuclear policy.

In her reply Nicola Sturgeon said: As you are aware, the Scottish Government is firmly opposed to the possession, threat and use of nuclear weapons and the thought that such weapons of indiscriminate and mass destruction could be launched from our shores is unacceptable to me and, I believe, the majority of people in Scotland. We need to do all that we can to create the conditions for a safer world without nuclear weapons. I was greatly encouraged that 122 countries voted for the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and like you I have called on the UK Government to sign and ratify the Treaty.”

Janet Fenton, Vice-Chair of Scottish CND and ICAN liaison worker in Scotland said: Scotland’s First Minister is leading a distinctive and safer response to the Covid-19 emergency and has challenged the impact for Scotland of a Brexit that was not supported by people here, so her consistent and unambiguous support for the sane alternative to the UK's disastrous addiction to nuclear weapons is another source of pride and encouragement to us all. She has never hesitated in joining the majority world in the demand for their total elimination and is respected and celebrated by the international community. We are appreciative of Setsuko’s awareness of Scotland’s uniquely unacceptable position, and proud of the FM’s response to her letter. The 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki takes place this week and that sobering reminder of horrific suffering offers us a special moment to take the necessary radical steps to end the UK’s nuclear occupation of Scotland.”

Contact: Janet Fenton 07795 594573

1. Campaigners in Scottish CND, Trident Ploughshares, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, MEDACT, Northern Friends Peace Board, UN House Scotland, Scottish WILPF, Mayors for Peace and Don't Bank on the Bomb Scotland working with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

2. 82 UN states have now signed the Treaty and 40 have ratified it, so that it now requires only 10 further ratifications to enter in force as a legally binding instrument. And it is already having an effect. A number of large financial institutions across the globe are ceasing to invest in nuclear weapon production. The most recent example is the Japanese mega bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. which said that the decision had been taken in the light of “broad perceptions in the international community about the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons.”

3. In her letter Setsuko said: “I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your vocal support for this treaty and your continued opposition to the deployment of nuclear weapons in Scotland. . I have written to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to urge him to sign and ratify the prohibition treaty without delay. Even in this time of a global pandemic, the Tory government continues to prioritize nuclear weapons spending over support for human needs. I have no doubt that Scotland can play a pivotal role in dismantling these most murderous weapons and lead the world in the planet-saving work of nuclear abolition.”

4. Letters from Setsuko to Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson, and the First Minister's reply are at

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