From time to time ESR issues Media Releases on matters of importance. These Media Releases are listed here for perusal.
Climate Change Fact Sheets (16 April 2014)
Two professional groups have teamed together to make a series of fact sheets on climate change which they plan to make widely available. The purpose of the sheets is to increase understanding of the risks climate change presents and the ways that these risks can be addressed. More ... (PDF 42 kB)
New Zealand and possible use of cluster munitions
in Syria (30 August 2013)
The following Press Release was issued this morning by the Aotearoa New Zealand Joint Working Group on Landmines and Cluster Munitions.
Engineers for Social Responsibility Inc is a supporter of the ANZ Joint Working Group on Landmines and Cluster Munitions, and took an active part in the campaigns to ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions. It remains a matter of deep concern that the USA and a few other governments have not seen fit to sign up to the two treaties.
New Zealand and possible use of cluster munitions in Syria
Media release: Aotearoa New Zealand Joint Working Group on Landmines and Cluster Munitions
30 August 2013
The Aotearoa New Zealand Joint Working Group on Landmines and Cluster Munitions has urged New Zealand to use all diplomatic means possible to discourage the United States from using cluster munitions in any military intervention in Syria, in keeping with New Zealand's obligations as a state party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
In a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs yesterday, the Aotearoa New Zealand Joint Working Group on Landmines and Cluster Munitions noted that the New York Times and others have reported that a range of United States officials have described plans for possible military intervention in Syria as being likely to involve scores of Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from US warships.
The Aotearoa New Zealand Joint Working Group on Landmines and Cluster Munitions is deeply concerned about the protection of civilians from the use of any explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas, and is especially concerned about the possible use of cluster munitions. Tomahawk land attack missiles (TLAM) are configured with a variety of warheads, and one variant - the TLAM-D - has a weapons payload of 166 BLU-97 cluster submunitions.
In the last reported use of cluster munitions by the United States, on 17 December 2009 in Yemen, one or more Tomahawk cruise missiles loaded with BLU-97 bomblets struck the hamlet of al-Majala in southern Abyan province. The strike killed at least 41 civilians, and at least four more civilians were killed and 13 wounded by unexploded bomblets after the attack. Four years later, the site of the attack remains contaminated by cluster munition remnants.
Cluster munitions used by the Syrian regime have already caused numerous civilian casualties and New Zealand's condemnation of that action has been welcomed. While Syria's reported use of chemical weapons is unconscionable, it does not legitimate the use of another indiscriminate weapon that will kill and maim yet more civilians.
New Zealand, along with all state parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, has an obligation under Article 21 to promote the norms it establishes and to "make its best efforts to discourage states not party to this Convention from using cluster munitions".
The Aotearoa New Zealand Joint Working Group on Landmines and Cluster Munitions therefore urges New Zealand to seek immediate assurance from the United States that it will explicitly rule out the use of cluster munitions in any military intervention in Syria.
The letter to Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs, copied to the Rt. Hon. John Key, Prime Minister; Hon. Phil Goff, Labour Party Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade; Hon. Maryan Street, Labour Party Spokesperson on Disarmament and Arms Control; Hon. Tariana Turia, Maori Party Co-Leader; Hon. Peter Dunne, United Future Party Leader; and Dr Kennedy Graham, Green Party Spokesperson on Disarmament and Arms Control is available from the Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition, tel 04 382 8129, email email@example.com
Fukushima Nuclear Power Station (5 October 2011)
In an open letter sent to the Prime Minister, the Japanese Ambassador in Wellington and the Secretary General of the United Nations, New Zealand Engineers for Social Responsibility said:
The committee and members of Engineers for Social Responsibility Inc extend their commiserations to the Japanese people and government in regard to the ongoing nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
We wish to record our concern in regard to two matters.
We would urge the
Japanese government to seek through the United Nations organisation the
establishment of a global response team to bring together the required
financial, technical, plant and manpower resources to take over the work of
stabilising the site.
Secondly we strongly protest at proposals by the
Japanese government and local government agencies to dispose of the vast
quantities of material contaminated by radiation from the plant at
many sites throughout Japan
by burning or burying the irradiated material.