Resolution on Depleted Uranium

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, United States Section, believes depleted uranium weapons are illegal under existing treaties, and calls for the immediate cessation of their manufacture, sale and use worldwide:

The United States Section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Deplores the use of depleted uranium munitions by NATO in Kosovo and Serbia and by the USA and UK in Iraq that are pyrophoric and ignite on impact, are radiologically and chemically toxic weapons that are primarily alpha emitters with beta and gamma decay products with a half life of 4.5 billion years,

Understands that after impact with a hard target, DU weapons produce very small, volatile and "ceramic" particles of uranium oxide which release long term, low level radiation in the human organism and system (if exposed or ingested), in which they remain for many years;

Believing that the use of these weapons is illegal under existing international humanitarian law because they fail the four main tests of weapons under international humanitarian law: temporal (continues after war), environmental (soil and water contamination), humaneness (unnecessary suffering beyond that required for military purposes) and affecting non-combatants under the Martens Clause;

Believing that because depleted uranium weapons are also chemically toxic, they are illegal under existing treaties against poisonous weapons;

Demands the immediate cessation of the manufacture, sale and use of DU weapons in maneuvers and in war situations worldwide;
Demands that countries that have used these weapons take financial and moral responsibility for de-contaminating the areas in which the munitions have been used;

Demands that the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights take up the use of DU weapons as a blatant violation of human rights;

Demands also that those countries that have used DU weapons guarantee life-time health care for all those civilian populations in Kosovo, Serbia and Iraq potentially affected, as well as veterans of several nationalities in the Gulf War and those active in Kosovo;

Deplores the denial by authorities of the danger caused by low-level radiation exposure to internalized radionuclides linked to depleted uranium, which only serves to perpetuate the nuclear power and weapons industry. Such denial is reinforced by the inability of the World Health Organization to properly investigate the health effects of radiation due to the 1959 agreement it has with the International Atomic Energy Agency;

Insists on the immediate provision of information on protective measures in the languages of those populations potentially affected, focusing on prevention of inhalation and ingestion of re-suspended radioactive insoluble particles;

Insists on the immediate commencement of long-term epidemiological studies of all affected populations, and biological studies on all plants and animals affected, paid for by those countries that have used DU weapons; and

Insists on the implementation of the Precautionary Principle to guide decisions about the use of all such weapons systems that potentially violate international law (thereby limiting or prohibiting their use in combat).

Adopted October 2, 2004 by Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, United States Section Board of Directors.

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