Yesterday the UN General Assembly’s negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons under international law began in New York. Over 115 governments, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the Pope and other faith-based leaders, over 3,000 scientists, and civil society agreed yesterday that it is time to ban nuclear weapons. The talks will be led by Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa and Sweden.
The New York Times reports that Donald Trump’s UN envoy, Nikki Haley, with the UK, France and envoys from Albania, Britain, France and South Korea, held a protest outside the negotiations. The full list is given here.
Nikki Haley centre, flanked by Alexis Lamek, left, France’s deputy United Nations ambassador, and Matthew Rycroft, right, the British ambassador to the United Nations.
Ms. Haley questioned whether countries favouring a weapons ban understood the nature of global threats. Referring to nations participating in the talks, she said, “You have to ask yourself, are they looking out for their people?”
As the talks began inside the General Assembly hall, Toshiki Fujimori (right), a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing, made an emotional appeal to diplomats. Read the full account of his experience and appeal in Mainichi. “I’m here at the U.N. asking for an abolition of nuclear weapons,” he said through an interpreter. “Nobody in any country deserves seeing the same hell again.”
More than 2,000 scientists have signed an open letter endorsing the talks. “We scientists bear a special responsibility for nuclear weapons, since it was scientists who invented them and discovered that their effects are even more horrific than first thought,” stated the letter, posted on the website of the Future of Life Institute, a charitable organization that promotes the peaceful use of technology.
It quoted Ronald Reagan, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”