• SCRAP Interview with Chinese Arms Control Expert Professor Li Bin of Qinghua University

    In November 2012, SCRAP intern Kyle Acierno interviewed Chinese arms control expert, Professor Li Bin, Director of the Arms Control Program at the Institute of International Studies, School of Social Sciences, Qinghua University, Beijing. The purpose of this interview was to explain and introduce the SCRAP project to Professor Li Bin as well as ask his opinion on a number of arms-related issues.

    Kyle: How do you feel about the globalization of the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) accord?

    Li Bin: INF was targeted towards China. It is about Russia and the US working together to contain China. Anyway, you could use ballistic missiles, nobody has banned ballistic missiles, but close range missiles are ok. Now the US and Russia don’t have these weapons and China does, so it’s aimed at China.

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  • The Arms Trade Treaty-A Canadian Perspective

     

    Image taken from Amnesty USA

     

                As an international studies student specializing in security and conflict, I recently became involved in a student initiative called SCRAP (The Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation). Last month, as a lobbying exercise, we went to Geneva to attend the United Nations (UN) Conference on Disarmament and were given an opportunity to spend time talking to non-governmental organizations, diplomats from around the world, as well as other leaders in the field of disarmament and arms control. On the trip, I learned something very disturbing: Canada, once known around the world as a peaceful nation that advocated strongly to protect the world’s citizens from harm, is unfortunately no more. The new face of Canada, masked by the Harper Government, is one that acts for the benefit of the few, at a great risk to us all. The Harper Government’s recent approach to the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations is testimony to this fact.

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  • The ATT, Disarmament, and Development

     
     
     
    As members of the United Nations continue their meetings this week in New York for the ‘second’ final round of negotiations of the Arms Trade Treaty, to be concluded on March 28, it is worth reflecting what such a historic treaty would mean for the developing world.
     

    The Arms Trade Treaty seeks to regulate the hitherto unregulated cross-border transfer of conventional weapons, both light and heavy, with the noble aim of preventing human rights abuses and war crimes. Under the treaty, governments can refuse to export arms to regimes suspected of violating international humanitarian law such as Syria. In 2012, owing to its high level of arms exports to dodgy governments, the UK ranked low in the ‘security and technology’ parameter of non-profit think tank, The Centre for Global Development’s latest report.

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  • UN Director General praises SOAS disarmament project

    The Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has described SOAS’ disarmament project a Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation (SCRAP) as interesting and innovative, saying “it is his hope that the SCRAP project can provide inspiration to reverse these trends [towards war] – urgently.”

    Director General Tokayev, also Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Disarmament and Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Conference, made the comment as he delivered the opening remarks at a discussion on ‘New approaches to General and Complete Disarmament’ at the United Nations, Geneva  on 13 February 2013.

    In his speech he added: “It is initiatives such as this one that contribute to keeping the issue of disarmament and non-proliferation alive and on the agenda of governments.”

    Diplomats from a score of nations joined the discussion and the meeting established SCRAP as a credible part of diplomatic dialogue on disarmament.

    The rare speech by the Director General at a student-led event organised by a single NGO, the eminence of the chair and the expertise of the respondents, all testify to the significance of what was called a ‘new paradigm’ in disarmament proposals.

    The SCRAP proposal is a holistic approach to global disarmament that involves the adoption of an international legally binding agreement for complete and general disarmament. The concept is designed to expand the idea of what is possible by drawing on the best practice of past agreements in disarmament.

    SCRAP comes from the initiative of students, alumni and staff of SOAS, University of London, and is based at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD).

    While the project is supported by a committee of academics and NGO officials, the enthusiasm and intellectual capacity of students, both current and former, have been pivotal to SCRAP’s recent progress. SCRAP has also partnered with a student network at the Simon Fraser University, Canada.

    Director General Tokayev echoed the importance of engaging youth, adding in his remarks: “Disarmament and non-proliferation education – especially among youth – is key in fighting indifference and complacency. It is essential to empower the young to become active and engaged citizens who can make their views on peace and security known to decision-makers.”

    CISD’s MA International Studies and Diplomacy student Anna Feuer commented: “We are extremely excited that Director General Tokayev expressed an interest in the SCRAP concept. He made a rare appearance at an event organised by a single NGO and which was led by students. This establishes SCRAP as a useful and credible contribution to the UN dialogue on disarmament. We were very honoured by the participation of Director General Tokayev and Ambassador Hoffman, and we hope to build on this momentum to move the SCRAP project forward.”

    The SCRAP team’s next step is to participate in the Second Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) where they will present on ‘Creating the conditions for General and Complete Disarmament’ on 1 May 2013. Further details will be made available on their website.

    For further information:

    Read the full SCRAP report.

    Download a podcast of the discussion.

  • “The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade” SCRAP interviews Andrew Feinstein

                 

    andrew-feinstein-photo

               This month, SCRAP interviewed Andrew Feinstein; writer, campaigner and former ANC MP in South Africa from 1994-2001. Mr. Feinstein has recently released his second book, The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, a riveting though shocking foray into the immoral practices of the global arms industry, uncovering the deeply entrenched corrupt business practices not only within the “black and grey trades” of arms dealers, but in the workings of governments the world over. 

    This exceptional expose follows his previous work After the Party: A Personal and Political Journey Inside the ANC, a candid account of his exit from the ANC after top party figures blocked his investigation of the corrupt 1997 Arms Deal between the South African government and international arms companies, BAE and SAAB. This ZAR 71 billion deal (as estimated to have cost South Africa by 2011) benefited a select group of politicians and left an arsenal of still unused weapons, at the same time as Thabo Mbeki’s government was declaring they did not have the precious funds needed for Anti- Retroviral drugs. This decision ultimately led to the devastating and unnecessary deaths of 355,000 people.
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  • Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament commends the efforts of SCRAP

    IMG_8994Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Conference; Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva) commended the efforts of SCRAP – a Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation – in his opening remarks at SCRAP’s presentation at the United Nations, Geneva (13 February, 2013).

    Mr Tokayev commented that SCRAP ‘represents an interesting and innovative holistic approach to general and complete disarmament’ and that ‘it is initiatives such as this one that contribute to keeping the issue of disarmament and non-proliferation alive and on the agenda of Governments.’

    Mr Tokayev valued the student-led efforts of SCRAP in particular, believing that ‘disarmament and non-proliferation education – especially among youth – is key in fighting indifference and complacency.’ and that ‘it is essential to empower the young to become active and engaged citizens who can make their views on peace and security known to decision-makers.’

    Read a complete version of Mr Tokayev’s speech.

    To read the SCRAP report on the discussion, please click SCRAP UN discussion report 2013

    About SCRAP

                    The SCRAP proposal is a holistic approach to global disarmament proposing the adoption of an international legally binding agreement for complete and general disarmament. It’s concept is designed to expand the idea of what is possible in disarmament by drawing on the best practice of past agreements.

    SCRAP comes from the initiative of students, alumni and staff of SOAS, University of London, and is actively supported by a committee of academics and NGO officials with governmental experience.

  • New Approaches to General and Complete Disarmament – United Nations February 2013

  • John Kerry hearing – a cordial affair?

     

    COP15-Senator-John-Kerry-001

    By all accounts, John Kerry’s recent Senate confirmation hearing was a cordial affair. The hearing – a serious test of endurance lasting nearly four hours – can be watched in full here. However, one particular exchange stands out for those interested in disarmament.

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  • Call for Papers: Virtual Global Forum for General & Complete Disarmament

    Call for Papers

    Virtual Global Forum for General & Complete Disarmament

    Where: Call for online submission of forum papers

    When: 1-4 June 2013

    Deadline for topic submission: 10 March 2013

    Deadline for final submission: 20 May 2013

    General Forum Chair: Dr. Daniel Plesch

    The Global Forum for General and Complete Disarmament 2013, is organised by the Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation “SCRAP”. SCRAP is located at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy [CISD] in the School of Oriental and African Studies [SOAS], London.

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  • Paul Schulte: “Enhancing Cooperative Security and Transparency to Promote Stability, Trust and Disarmament”

    A Mission Statement and Research Agenda for the School of Oriental and African Studies Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (SOAS CISD) and Partners

    “The ‘best practice’ for governing and eliminating WMD can be found in the mandate and work of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC ) in Iraq between 1999 and 2003 (UNMOVIC took over from the work of its predecessor (UNSCOM) and in the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).   These activities together represented over sixteen years of expertise and on-the-ground experience (UNMOVIC continued in being until 2007) with great success against the quintessential ‘hard case’, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – despite the calculated denigration of the inspectors that facilitated the launching of Iraq War in 2003.”
     

    Please Click below to see the SOAS vision statement:

    Enhancing Cooperative Security and Transparency to Promote Stability, Trust and Disarmament