On October 1, with excellent timing, the 2015 Right Livelihood Honorary Award was announced to Tony DeBrum and the people of the Marshall Islands "in recognition of their vision and courage to take legal action against the nuclear powers for failing to honor their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty." This provided the backdrop for the presentation to students, lawyers and activists at the University of Pittsburgh Law School.
David and Goliath: The Marshall Islands Take on the Nuclear Powers was co-sponsored by Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace (of which CFPA Western PA is an active member), the National Lawyers Guild (Pittsburgh Chapter), and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE); and SEIU Healthcare PA.
Speakers included Ed Aguilar, PA Director for the Coalition for Peace Action, John Burroughs (Executive Director LCNP who also spoke at CFPA Membership Dinner), and UE’s General Council Joseph Cohen. Ed started the program with a power-point history of Marshall Islands describing the nuclear testing contamination and its relationship to climate change, as well as clean-energy solutions to reverse the effects of human activities on climate. John shared the 2014 case filed in the International Court of Justice and US federal court. This case compels the 9 nuclear powers to negotiate in good faith for the elimination of nuclear weapons as required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law. Joseph described UE’s amicus brief which is now in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California. He explained how the District Court erred in finding that there were no judicial standards for determining whether the parties failed to negotiate in good faith. In fact, labor law has much experience with the application of a “good faith standard” in collective bargaining.
We were fortunate to have these experts share their knowledge and direct involvement with this groundbreaking case and look forward to following its progress (Pictures below provided by Jo Schlesinger, Western PA Coordinator - Coalition for Peace Action; Videos provided by Robin Alexander)
To view videos of the talks Click Here!