On Thursday, 23 May 2002 three students from the Brussels School of International Relations (BSIS) organized a formal opening of an NGO they founded called Brussels against Nukes (BAN). Jonas Tryggvason chaired the event with addresses from Michelle Myers on the background of NAPF and Erol Hofmans on activism and NGO work. This is a chapter of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), based in California, USA. The chapter will focus on nuclear weapons issues such as non-proliferation and academic research in the field of the politics of nuclear weapons. Local activists and students of BSIS and Brussels Free University (VUB) attended the opening.

The keynote speaker of the evening was Mr. Meindert Stelling, president of Jurists for Peace and affiliated with the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA). He spoke about the illegality of nuclear arms with regard to international humanitarian law.

The founding of BAN has come at an important time for the local community and the world where the use of nuclear weapons poses a greater threat than ever. BAN is looking to make its mark on the Brussels society by becoming an NGO that will educate and involve the community as well as take a stand on a very important issue, the abolition of nuclear weapons.

In the courses at BSIS, the students have often discussed and debated the issues surrounding nuclear weapons. BAN and its supporters are convinced that the complete elimination of these weapons of mass destruction is the only way to assure the safety of future generations. This is an enormous task, but the establishment of Brussels Against Nukes is a first step in the right direction.

Each month BAN will organize one event: in June, the focus will be on the U.S. planned withdrawal from the ABM treaty; in July, the statutes for BAN will be discussed and drafted in a workshop format; in August, BAN members will participate in Hiroshima and Nagasaki remembrances together with other anti-nuclear weapons groups in Brussels; and in September BAN will have its first annual meeting where board members will be elected.

If you are interested in becoming a member, please email Brussels Against Nukes at BANnukes@hotmail.com and we will send you a membership form. You can also find out more about nuclear issues by visiting the main website of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation at www.wagingpeace.org.