Good News: Towards a Nuclear Weapons-Free World

B Good NewsNational campaigns against smoking in many Western countries began to make headway when they stopped focusing primarily on trying to convince smokers to give up their addiction, and instead focused more on efforts with non-smokers to develop a normative right to smoke-free environments. This included the establishment of smoke-free work places, restaurants and other public places.

Similarly, the global campaign against nuclear weapons has picked up steam recently through a shift in approach from its previous emphasis on challenging the nuclear weapon states (NWS) towards a greater focus on empowering the non-NWS to implement their right to a nuclear weapons-free world.

  • The 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference expressed its “deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons” and reaffirmed “the need for all states at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law”.  
  • On 2 June 2010, following up on the NPT Review Conference decision, the Canadian Senate adopted resolutions in the Senate, later confirmed by the House of Commons, encouraging the Government of Canada to engage in a global diplomatic initiative for nuclear disarmament including negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
  • In December 2011, a Summit of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) issued a Communiqué calling for the convening of a high–level conference to identify ways to prohibit the development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use, of nuclear weapons and to stipulate their destruction.
  • On 8 March 2012 the Mexican Senate adopted by consensus a resolution calling for a global inter-governmental conference to negotiate a Nuclear Weapons Convention (or framework of agreements), and also supported measures to achieve security without nuclear weapons and called on all parliaments to support such initiatives.
  • On 14 June 2012 the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements adopted a resolution on the irreconcilability of nuclear weapons with international humanitarian law and called for States to negotiate a global ban on nuclear weapons.
  • At the 2012 Vienna Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee Switzerland presented a joint statement on the “humanitarian dimension of nuclear disarmament” sponsored by 16 governments: Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Holy See, Egypt, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, South Africa and Switzerland and insisted that all NPT parties, “especially the nuclear weapon States, [should] give increasing attention to their commitment to comply with international law and international humanitarian law.” It concluded by calling on states to “intensify their efforts to outlaw nuclear weapons and achieve a world free of nuclear weapons”. 
  • On 4 July 2012 the Swiss Parliament resolved: “The Federal Council is fully convinced of the need to act decisively to the establishment of a world free of nuclear weapons. Any use of these weapons would be catastrophic and their existence and proliferation threaten humanity as a whole. Therefore, the Federal Council decided to make nuclear disarmament a priority.” …”Switzerland is committed to… a world free of nuclear weapons.”
  • In March 2013 the inter-governmental conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons hosted in Oslo by the Norwegian Government has increased pressure on the Nuclear Weapon States from those which are not armed with nuclear weapons

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