"Trident waives the rules" on human rights

Abuse of human rights is often regarded as something which only happens in other countries. Yet here in Britain, in our so-called "democracy", fundamental human rights, as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) fifty years ago, are constantly violated. A brief glance at the 30 articles in the UDHR reveals many instances where the state fails to safeguard our basic rights; we no longer have a right to be presumed innocent; we have some of the strictest, unjust laws against asylum seekers; we are not guaranteed social security or a decent wage; prisoners cannot vote; we no longer have freedom of peaceful assembly, and so on.

But this is not all. Britain is guilty of breaking one of the most inalienable human rights - the right to life, liberty, and security of person (Article 3). On a daily and continual basis, our government subjects not just British citizens, but citizens of countries worldwide, to an unseen, but ever present threat of nuclear war or nuclear accident. Trident submarines patrol international seas on a 24 hour basis, on continual alert, and the government admits it has a first-use policy; that is, it will not just be defence against attack, but will strike first.

Bearing in mind the instability in various parts of the globe, the countless nuclear accidents and narrowly averted catastrophes due to mistaken intention, how can anyone in the world feel "secure of person" while nuclear weapons exist.

What rights do Britain and other nuclear weapon states have to put at risk innocent people from other countries, and in fact their own citizens. The World Court, the highest court, has declared the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons to be illegal. Trident is a weapon of mass destruction - it kills everyone and anyone indiscriminately. Trident flies in the face of all human rights. Such contempt must be stopped, and human rights abusers such as our government won't do it until we get together to force them.

Greater Manchester and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (0161 834 8301, gmdcnd@gn.apc.org)