Depleted Uranium Weapons

Depleted uranium (DU) is a little known military weapon, manufactured, sold and used by Britain among other nations, yet the UN has just declared it to be a "Weapon of Mass Destruction". Once you discover the terrible effects of DU, it becomes immediately apparent why the military and the government are happy for it to remain "little known".

DU is use in the core of tank rounds, because they say it has a "unique capability" to penetrate tank armour. Well, that maybe true, but does this justify the horrific after-effects, which once again, are indiscriminate, affecting civilians just as much as military personnel. The Ministry of Defence earlier this year admitted that DU has the potential to cause adverse health effects, and also admits using it against Iraqi forces in the Gulf War. The use of DU shells has produced a significant incidence of childhood leukaemia in the area, and with sanctions in place, there is little way of alleviating the suffering of such as Jassim, only 13 years old when he died.

But this is not the only incidence of use of DU. It is even fired in this country in training, with the government claiming radiation levels were so low as to be irrelevant. But as the Low-Level Radiation Campaign will explain, in much detail, there is no safe level of radiation.

Greater Manchester and District CND have begun to look into the use and effects of DU, with a particular emphasis on Iraq and the victims of DU there. We have discovered a wealth of information from other campaigners and investigative journalists in this country and abroad. We hope to begin an ongoing campaign based in Manchester, to ensure DU becomes no longer a 'little known' weapon, but is recognised for the weapon of mass destruction that it is, and to bring pressure on the government to ban its manufacture and use. The aim is to have a public meeting and video evening about DU sometime in the new year, but we are now looking for volunteers to come forward to get involved with this campaign.

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