David and Goliath: The Marshall Islands Take on the Nuclear Powers

Thursday, October 1, 7:00 pm
University of Pittsburgh Law School, Alcoa Room


  • John Burroughs J.D., Ph.D., Executive Director, New York-based Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy;
  • Ed Aguilar, J.D. PA Director, Coalition for Peace Action;
  • Joseph Cohen, J.D., General Counsel, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE).

The United States tested 67 nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands between 1946 to 1958, including the largest test ever conducted by the U.S., code named Castle Bravo, which was one thousand times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The United States Atomic Energy Commission described the Marshall Islands as “by far the most contaminated place in the world.”

In addition, the Marshall Islands ranks among the most endangered nations due to sea level rise from climate change. It has experienced increased severity of typhoons along with flooding and evacuations.

Rather than resigning themselves to suffering a terrible fate, the Marshall Islands has taken on both the issues of climate change and nuclear weapons. In light of the danger of a renewed nuclear arms race, on April 24, 2014, it filed cases in the International Court of Justice and US federal court to compel the nuclear powers to negotiate in good faith for the elimination of nuclear weapons as required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law. The NPT has been in force for 45 years. The Nuclear Weapon States continue to rely heavily on nuclear weapons and most are engaging in modernization programs to keep their nuclear weapons active for decades to come.

 This program is free and open to the public.

For details on obtaining CLE credit, contact Bob Riefle at 412-321-8978.

Co-sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild, Pittsburgh Chapter, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) and SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.

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