United Nations: Step up for Nuclear Abolition

On Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days, call on your government to support the UN High Level Conference (Summit) on Nuclear Disarmament.

August 6 and 9 are the 73rd anniversaries of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. UNFOLD ZERO joins peace and disarmament organisations around the world commemorating these dates with events and actions to prevent nuclear weapons ever being used again, and to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.

A key action is to call on your government to support the UN High Level Conference (Summit) on Nuclear Disarmament. The conference could increase political, media and public pressure on governments (particularly of the nuclear reliant countries) to prohibit and prevent any use of nuclear weapons, and to undertake measures to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons globally.

UN decision to hold a High Level Conference

In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to hold  a High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament in May 2018. The resolution was supported by 129 countries, including 3 nuclear-armed States – China, India and Pakistan, but was opposed by the other nuclear-armed States and most NATO countries.

In March, the UN decided to postpone the conference due to insufficient preparation and a low level of confirmed participants at the highest level (Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers). Now, pro-nuclear forces are trying to kill the conference completely.

They argue that there are already a number of disarmament processes and that we don’t need another one. However, this is just an excuse for inaction.

Limits of other nuclear disarmament processes

Key nuclear disarmament processes include bilateral US-Russia nuclear arms reductions, the North East Asian peace process, the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review (NPT) Process, and increasing membership in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

None of these by themselves are able to deliver the goals of the prevention of nuclear war and the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world. All of them could be assisted and supplemented by a UN High-Level Conference.

The US-Russia nuclear arms reduction process is stalled. The North-East Asia peace process is subject to the whims of unstable leaders. The NPT process has failed to deliver on the obligation of states parties to achieve nuclear disarmament. And only non-nuclear States are parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, so it does not apply to those with the nuclear weapons.

Value of the UN High Level Conference (Summit)

UN High-Level Conferences (HLCs) and Summits capture the attention of media, public, parliaments and policy makers. Governments are put on the spot as to what they will contribute to the conference, and what outcomes could be achieved. As such, UN HLCs and summits in the past few years have played an instrumental role in moving governments to action on climate change, refugees and protection of the oceans. A HLC on Nuclear Disarmament could play an equally significant role.

Amongst other things, a HLC on Nuclear Disarmament could:

  • Put pressure on additional governments to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons;
  • Encourage nuclear armed and allied States to adopt policies to never use nuclear weapons first;
  • Support the peace and disarmament process in North East Asia;
  • Protect the Iran deal, which the US has left despite it being the best way to ensure Iran does not aquire nuclear weapons;
  • Encourage nuclear armed States to announce the next cuts in their nuclear stockpiles, and a framework to move to zero nuclear weapons.

Take action

For more information contact info@baselpeaceoffice.org.

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