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Under Pressure

November 3, 2016

For once, the United States, France and the United Kingdom are in agreement with Russia: plans to negotiate a nuclear weapons ban need to be stopped. Before the vote last Thursday in the UN First Committee, they pulled out all the stops to pressurise other states to vote against or abstain on a draft resolution co-sponsored by 57 states for a conference to be convened in 2017 to negotiate a nuclear ban. In private conversations with delegates, the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear weapons (ICAN) heard of several instances of applied and implied pressure on states, also receiving a leaked document from the US to NATO allies. Several states simply left the room rather than vote the “wrong” way. Read more…

US can do more to lead the way in global nuclear disarmament

November 2, 2016

Frank von Hippel, one of the world’s leading specialists on nuclear weapons, has provided us―and the presidential candidates―with an important challenge: How are we going to get the stalled nuclear disarmament process moving forward once again? Answering the challenge is particularly problematic because it requires navigating between the national security fears of US political leaders and the apparent disinterest in further nuclear disarmament on the part of the Russian government. Even so, a case can be made for cutting back the deployed US nuclear arsenal. Read more…


October 31, 2016

Guest editorial

by Ray Acheson

On 24 January 1946, the UN General Assembly adopted its first resolution, which set out to “deal with the problems raised by the discovery of atomic energy.” It established a commission with the task, among others, to make proposals “for the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons.” Nearly 71 years later, the General Assembly has taken an enormous step towards this goal.

The adoption of resolution L.41, establishing a conference in 2017 to negotiate a legally binding treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, represents a meaningful advancement towards the elimination of nuclear weapons. It also represents a revolt of the vast majority of states against the violence, intimidation, and injustice perpetuated by those supporting these weapons of mass destruction. Read more…

Breaking news: One step closer to a ban treaty!

October 27, 2016

The UN First Committee approved a resolution this afternoon to mandate negotiations on a new treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. Adopted by a strong majority vote—123-38-16—the resolution now goes to the General Assembly for a final vote before the end of the year.

“Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations” specifies a 20-day negotiating conference open to all states, with meetings planned in March and June 2017. The goal of the conference, as set out in the resolution, is “to conclude as soon as possible a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.” Read more…

Contamination from nuclear test explosions is in every one of our bodies

October 24, 2016

[IPPNW co-president Tilman Ruff spoke in Melbourne on October 10 at the launch of a special issue of the International Review of the Red Cross on The human cost of nuclear weapons. The full text of his remarks is on the ICRC’s Humanitarian Law & Policy blog.]

by Tilman Ruff

I think that this special issue of the Review is, to date, the definitive history of the humanitarian initiative for nuclear disarmament, one that has changed the international discourse about nuclear weapons, bringing humanitarian considerations and imperatives to the heart of this matter – where they belong.

My piece titled “The humanitarian impacts and implications of nuclear test explosions in the Pacific region” addresses the health and environmental effects of nuclear test explosions in Australia, Christmas Island, French Polynesia and the Marshall Islands. Read more…

Nobel Laureates call for ban treaty negotiations

October 24, 2016

fb-nobel-laureates-ban-treaty-2016[The following statement, calling on the UN First Committee to adopt a resolution mandating negotiations on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, has been endorsed by 15 Nobel Peace Laureates and two Laureates in other fields. Their names are listed at the end of the statement.]

The dangers posed by nuclear weapons are utterly unacceptable, and the only sure way to prevent an unthinkable catastrophe is to eliminate them completely. Read more…

Ban treaty is about security of all

October 12, 2016

[ICAN delivered the following statement to the UN First Committee today, during a special civil society session. The statement was read by Jasmin Nario Galace of The Philippines.]

Statement by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) to the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, 12 October 2016

Honorable Chair and Members of the First Committee,

I take the floor on behalf of ICAN—the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons—a global campaign coalition comprising 440 partner organizations in 98 countries. ICAN fully supports the resolution calling for negotiations to commence in 2017 on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. Read more…

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