Sean Howard: Silencing the pacifists, rather than the guns

 Sean Howard’s essay is due to appear in The Cape Breton Spectator.


[M]embers of the Ukrainian Security Service, the SBU, break down the door of the Kyiv apartment of Yurii Sheliazhenko, Executive Secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, seizing his computer, smartphone, and other materials, informing him he is being charged with ‘justifying Russian aggression’.

The basis of the charge, Sheliazhenko was told, was the ‘Peace Agenda for Ukraine and the World’ adopted by the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement on September 21, 2022 – UN International Day of Peace – which indeed makes its position on Russia’s invasion clear:

Condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine, the UN General Assembly called for an immediate peaceful resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and emphasized that parties to the conflict must respect human rights and international humanitarian law. We share this position.

For the complete article: 

CPG contributions to: Regional Security in the North, Nuclear Risks and Possible Solutions

Conference Proceedings from the webinar Regional Security in the North, Nuclear Risks and Possible Solutions are published on the Journal of Autonomy and Security Studies’ website, see .  The full text of eight articles is available on the website, and in pdf format.

Two articles by CPG members.  

Strategic Nuclear Patrols and an Arctic Military Code of Conduct:
Ernie Regehr

Destabilization of the Arctic:
Adele Buckley

WHAT ARE THE PROSPECTS FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT: CPG side event at the NPT Preparatory Committee meeting, Vienna, August 10, 2023

Tariq Rauf, Vice-Chair Canadian Pugwash Group moderated the event, with Panellist Paul Meyer, Past Chair of CPG.

CPG side event at the NPT Preparatory Committee meeting, Vienna, August 10, 2023

Outline of CPG Side Event 10Aug2023

“After Ukraine – What are the prospects for nuclear disarmament?”
Presentation by Paul Meyer

“This rusting out of the machinery of arms control and disarmament has gone on largely unnoticed by politicians and publics alike. It is only with the revival of what is somewhat euphemistically referred to as “great power rivalry” and which more accurately is the unleashing of aggressive war and the acceleration of the arms race that the world is beginning to pay attention. President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, a blatant violation of the UN Charter, that Russia as a Permanent Member of the Security Council is obliged to uphold has shaken the international community. Furthermore, Putin’s recourse to threats of nuclear weapons use, explicit or implicit, has once again highlighted the role of these weapons as instruments of coercion and intimidation.”

Read the full presentation here: AfterUkraineWhitherNucDisAug2023

The recorded presentation can be viewed: here

Meyer’s ten specific actions that would be worth pursuing:
1. Build on the common adherence to the NPT to construct bridges between the camps
supporting and opposing the TPNW, including encouraging attendance as observers
to TPNW meetings of state parties.
2. Continue to press for NPT reform that will enhance transparency and accountability
process with respect to Article VI obligations – common reporting templates and
dedicated time for discussion of national reports. The lack of an agreed outcome to
the working group that met in the week prior to the PrepCom should not deter
states from insisting on reform measures – resorting to voting on these procedural
steps if necessary.
3. Promote adoption of “No First Use” doctrines in keeping with existing commitments
within the NPT to reduce the saliency of nuclear weapons in national security
4. Amplify the declaration issued by the G20 in November 2022 to the effect that any
threat or use of nuclear weapons is “inadmissible”
5. Advocate for de-alerting and related steps which insert a fire break for nuclear use.
6. Urge states to ban all cyber operations directed against nuclear weapon complexes.
7. Press the NWS not to employ AI in the control systems for their nuclear forces in a
manner than supplants human control and responsibility.
8. Call upon the participants in the NWS/P5 process to conduct serious negotiations on
nuclear risk reduction and nuclear arms control in keeping with their NPT
9. Support the initiation of negotiations on a Fissile Material Treaty via a UN General
Assembly authorized process as opposed to the dysfunctional CD.
10. Call for the resumption of bilateral talks between Russia and the US to conclude a
follow-up agreement to New START prior to its expiration in February 2026

Peggy Mason: Commemorating the 1945 atomic bombing of Japan

Peggy Mason speaks in Ottawa on August 9. Behind her is Bill Bhaneja, host of the event, also a Canadian Pugwash Group member.

Peggy Mason, President of the Rideau Institute and Board Member of Canadian Pugwash Group, was invited to speak at Ottawa’s August 9 commemoration event, marking the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

She said in part: “This brings me to the recent statements by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively calling on nuclear-armed (and presumably nuclear umbrella) nations to “show courage and make the decision to break free from dependence on nuclear deterrence.”

The war in Ukraine has shown the ultimate wisdom of that message.

But the plain fact is that nuclear-armed states and their allies are not going to discard their nuclear weapons – no matter the dangers they pose – without an alternative security paradigm. Otherwise, their fear would be that without nuclear deterrence, the likelihood of war with unbelievably dangerous new hypersonic conventional weapons (enhanced by AI) would be more, not less, likely. To put this another way, our goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons will be futile if we cannot demonstrate to the NWS that it will not lead to a world where devastating conventional war among great powers is more likely in the absence of nuclear weapons to deter them.

I am sure that this is not something most of you want to contemplate. But it is an absolute necessity to face if we are to get rid of nuclear weapons. We have to restart the vital work begun at the end of the cold war but then abandoned in the frenzy of globalization and American triumphalism – to move away from a competitive, zero-sum approach to security – which leads to the security dilemma of steps by one side to enhance their defences being perceived as a threat by the other side, leading them to increase their defences and on and it goes…”

For Mason’s complete presentation, continue here: Mason_comments_9Aug2023

Lanterns are released in Ottawa at a pond beside the Rideau Canal, August 9, 2023

Canadian Pugwash Group Condemns Cluster Bombs Being Sent to Ukraine 


July 14, 2023

Canadian Pugwash Group Condemns Cluster Bombs Being Sent to Ukraine

The Canadian Pugwash Group condemns the use of cluster munitions everywhere and deeply regrets the recent decision by the United States to provide them to Ukraine. The office of Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has now made clear: “We do not support the use of cluster munitions and are committed to putting an end to the effects cluster munitions have on civilians – particularly children.”

The Cluster Munitions Monitor reports that  well over 90% of reported cluster bomb casualties worldwide are civilians. Many are small farmers, or children who can be attracted to the toy-like appearance of unexploded but still deadly “bomblets”.

Cluster bombs are indiscriminate weapons that cannot distinguish between combatants and civilians. They may contain hundreds of explosive sub-munitions that can blanket an area the size of a soccer field. Moreover, up to 40% of sub-munitions can fail to explode upon impact and will pose a lethal threat to all who encounter them for many decades. As such their use is contrary to long-standing, internationally agreed prohibitions and regulations.

One hundred and twenty-three countries support the Convention on Cluster Munitions which further prohibits their use and transfer under any circumstances, for all time. This includes Canada and 21 other NATO allies. Regrettably, the United States is not among them, but is still obliged to abide by International Humanitarian Law, which requires that combatants and civilians be distinguished.

The Canadian Pugwash Group calls upon the Government of Canada and all Parties to the Convention to fulfill their legal obligation to do everything in their power to discourage the use of cluster munitions by all parties, including Russia, Ukraine, and allies — directly or indirectly — in the current conflict.

Canadian Pugwash Group


Cesar Jaramillo, Chairperson cjaramillo [at]
Tariq Rauf, Vice-Chairperson