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Dear <<First Name>> <<Last Name>>,


> marking 40 years of Exeter CND

Exeter CND was founded on 27th October 1980 at a meeting of 160 people in what was then known as St George's Hall (now called the Corn Exchange). This was the day after a large national CND demonstration in Trafalgar Square that was calling on the Government to abandon Britain's nuclear weapons and to work for nuclear disarmament. Prior to the establishment of Exeter CND as an central group, there were already existing ward area CND groups within the city - and indeed, there had been a "first wave" of Exeter CND activity in the 1960s (but our archives only go back to 1980).

At that meeting in Exeter, a provisional organisation was adopted, and after an intensive recruiting campaign, a formal constitution was adopted at a General Meeting on 26th January 1981. By that time, membership of Exeter CND had grown to around 600 people, and continued to grow, reaching an all-time peak in 1984 of nearly 2500 people. Forty years later, we're still here, and even though our membership is a little more modest in size now, we're still campaigning for peace and for global nuclear disarmament.

Exeter CND members researched and produced a leaflet entitled "Nuclear War and You". 40,000 copies were printed and hand-delivered to every home in Exeter and many of the surrounding villages in December 1980. You can see this leaflet and many other archive documents on the new History page of our website. One of our long-time supporters, Dave Parks, has very kindly been scanning some of our archive materials and we are making these available for all to see. Click here to take a look.

In the process of cataloguing our archive materials for the first time, it does appear that we are missing some of the earliest newsletters, which is a real shame, so we are putting out a call: if you were part of Exeter CND back in the 1980s (or were involved prior with the ward area groups) and have a box of old papers knocking around in your attic or basement, please do get in touch! We would be very pleased to borrow and copy, or add them to the rest of our archive for you. Click here to send an email.

> United Nations global ban treaty enters into force

In the week that Exeter CND marked our 40th anniversary, we heard the exciting news that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) received its 50th ratification at the UN. Saturday 24th October was the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN and on that day, Honduras became the 50th state party to the TPNW with their ratification. This automatically triggered the treaty "coming into force" 90 days later, which means that on 22nd January 2021, the nuclear ban will become a binding instrument under international law.

This is an historic milestone for this landmark treaty. Prior to the TPNW’s adoption, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not banned under international law, despite their catastrophic humanitarian consequences. Now, with the treaty’s entry into force, we can call nuclear weapons what they are: prohibited weapons of mass destruction, just like chemical weapons and biological weapons. 135 nations came together in 2017 to draw up the treaty, which was approved at the UN General Assembly. To date, 84 countries have signed the treaty, and many more are in the process of passing it through their parliamentary procedures.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) led the campaign over many years at the UN working towards the TPNW. ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 in recognition of their work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and their ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of nuclear weapons.
Regrettably, the 9 countries that possess nuclear weapons all refused to take part in the negotiations. However, it is clear that the vast majority of the world’s governments and civil society are in favour of the total global abolition of nuclear weapons, and this treaty coming into force truly marks the beginning of the end for atomic weapons.
The United Nations was founded after the end of World War Two “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and achieving global nuclear disarmament is one of the oldest goals of the UN. Indeed, the very first resolution of the UN General Assembly in 1946 included a commitment “for the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction”.

The terms of the TPNW only apply to the countries that have signed and ratified the agreement. And although the nine nuclear-armed states currently state they will not support it, the treaty is a significant pointer towards changing international attitudes to nuclear weapons. Previous treaties prohibiting chemical and biological weapons helped to stigmatise them in the minds of the public. This is now taking place with nuclear weapons.

This historic agreement will no doubt generate international momentum towards global nuclear abolition. The treaty is a breakthrough in international disarmament efforts and will be of enormous support in achieving the goal that most of the world shares: that there is no place for these weapons of mass destruction. Alongside raising awareness of the TPNW, CND will continue to work with all our partners in Parliament and across civil society to oppose the replacement of Trident.

More information:    

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Thank you all for your continued support of the campaign.

With all best wishes,
in peace, and for peace,

TJ Milburn
Chair & Organising Secretary
Exeter Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

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