Catholics In Coalition for Justice and Peace

Depleted Uranium Weapons

The problem

There is growing international concern about the use of depleted uranium in weapons, and the harm to military personnel, affected communities and eco-systems exposed to its toxicity and radioactivity.

A dramatic rise in birth deformities in the Iraqi city of Basra following the First Gulf War in 1991 is attributed to the US military's use of weapons containing depleted uranium. In the Iraqi city of Fallujah a sharp rise in birth defects began a year after intense U.S military attacks on the city in 2004 which allegedly involved DU weapons.

The babies of Basra and Fallujah are dying from wounds of a war they never saw - the toxic legacy of modern weaponry – it is ‘Agent Orange’ all over again.

Depleted Uranium use presents a clear risk to human health and the environment. This risk is increased through the use of the weapons in civilian areas and against civilian objects, and is further compounded by the inability of affected communities to effectively manage contamination.

For more information on depeted uranium in weapons, their use and their consequences, see the Australian Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons (ACBUW) website.

Take action

Sign this petition urging the Australian Government to vote ‘Yes’ at the United Nations First Committee in October 2012 when a resolution will be moved regarding greater transparency by users of depleted uranium weapons. In light of the information and scientific data available on the toxic and radioactive legacy of weapons containing depleted uranium (DU), and in light of Australia’s human rights obligations, we need Australia to move from an abstention to a ‘yes’ vote.

Write a letter to Foreign Minister Bob Carr and your local MP in the next few weeks about the UN First Committee vote. For more information, visit the ACBUW 'Take action' page.

Latest News

John Murphy MP urges a 'yes' vote in Parliament

On 30 October 2012, John Murphy MP, Member for Reid, gave a speech in Parliament where he urged the government to vote 'yes' at the impending UN vote on the resolution for greater transparency by users of depleted uranium weapons.

Mr Murphy began, 'Shortly the United Nations First Committee will consider a resolution calling on nations to take a precautionary approach to the use of depleted uranium weapons. The resolution calls for greater transparency in the use of depleted uranium weapons so that user nations reveal where they have been used so local communities are aware they may be affected. In line with representations made to me by my constituents, I urge the Minister for Foreign Affairs to support a yes vote on this resolution aimed at protecting civilians from long-term harm..'

Read a transcript of his full speech.

Latest update from Donna Mulhearn of the Fallujah Project:

Here are excerpts of the latest update from Donna Mulhearn, campaigner with the Australian Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons, on 10 October 2012:

'Greetings from Canberra where we’ve been meeting with parliamentarians and journalists, lobbying and briefing in a bid to change Australia’s vote at the United Nations on depleted uranium.

We’ve had a busy and productive few days day – gaining support from all MPs we have spoken to ...

We are now at a critical stage in the campaign: the vote is three weeks away, now scheduled for Nov 4 or 5.

Last week we made significant progress with the release of two important papers. I believe they are game changers and have the potential is influence the Australian Government’s view of this matter. Here are the reports:

Precaution in Practice, Challenging the Acceptability of Depleted Uranium Weapons - this report presents a compelling and rational argument for states to adopt the precautionary principle in relation to depleted uranium.

Hazard Aware, Lessons Learned from Military Field Manuals on Depleted Uranium and how to move forward for civilian protection norms

You can find a fantastic summary of the approach here in this article