|Roslyn Cook sends news from the ICAN website: the UN’s “Open-Ended Working Group” talks on nuclear disarmament concluded by making a clear recommendation to start negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
Bringing together governments, academia and civil society, a series of three conferences presented new evidence about the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the risks of their use, whether accidental or intentional. A number of elements that should be included in a legally binding instrument which prohibits nuclear weapons were outlined. Majority support was declared in joint statements delivered by Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Pacific as well as statements from several European states.
However, resistance continued to come from a small group of states who continued to argue that nuclear weapons are essential to their national security. A Japan Times editorial found it disappointing that none of the five nuclear weapons states under the NPT and none of the four other nations that possess nuclear arms — India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — took part in the working group. The five nuclear weapons states maintained that nuclear arms play a role in the sphere of security and that parties calling for a ban on these weapons ignore that role’s significance. But despite threatening to block a report which contained a recommendation for a ban treaty, these governments did not have the leverage to thwart the successful outcome of the group.
Australia announced that it was objecting to the draft of the report and called for a vote. In spite of the opposition from Australia and several other pro-nuclear weapon states, the majority was able to carry the day. On that basis, the working group was able to recommend the start of negotiations on a new legal instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons.
The report ended by reiterating that nuclear weapons remain the only weapons of mass destruction not yet prohibited under international law, despite their inhumane and indiscriminate nature. A ban would make it illegal for nations to use or possess nuclear weapons and help to pave the way to their complete elimination.
The October meeting of the UN General Assembly First Committee will have the task of issuing a mandate to start the negotiating process.
Roslyn sends this link for those who want to read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susi-snyder/overwhelming-majority-ban_b_11610606.html
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