UN Talks Recommend Negotiations of Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty
August 20, 2016
International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
In a dramatic final day in Geneva, the groundbreaking UN talks on nuclear disarmament concluded by making a clear recommendation to start negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons. For the first time, the "Open-Ended Working Group" has outlined elements to be included in a new legally binding nuclear ban. It is now up to the October meeting of the UN General Assembly to advance the campaign by issuing a call to start negotiations.
Special to Environmentalists Against War
OEWG Update: A Nuclear Weapons A Ban Is Coming!!
OEWG Recommends Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons!
Daniel Högsta / International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
GENEVA (August 19, 2016) -- Hello ICANers. It’s been an exciting final day here at the OEWG in Geneva! Right up until the beginning of the final session of the OEWG, it seemed like States were going to be able to agree on a report which contained a compromise outcome.
However, at the last second, Australia seemingly changed its mind and rejected the compromise that had been reached. On that basis, they called for a vote on the report, which they lost. Badly.
We knew all along that a large majority of states support a treaty banning nuclear weapons and this was reflected in the vote. The approval of this recommendation means that the Working Group was able to unambiguously recommend the start of negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
This is a huge moment for the campaign. The next step will be to take this proposal to the United Nations General Assembly where it looks likely that a resolution will be tabled that formally starts negotiations.
Early next week we will send an Action Alert to help supporters take immediate action to spread the news and to prepare for the UN. Time is short until first committee, so we have to work quick to prepare.
Finally, please don’t forget. The ban is coming!
Below is a news story we have written about the final OEWG session:
UN Talks Recommend Negotiations
For a Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty
International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
GENEVA (August 19, 2016) -- In a dramatic final day, the groundbreaking UN talks on nuclear disarmament concluded by making a clear recommendation to start negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
Known as the “Open-Ended Working Group” (OEWG), the talks have taken place in February, May and August of this year and have outlined a number of elements that should be included in a new legally binding instrument which prohibits nuclear weapons.
The majority support for the ban treaty was clearly underlined by joint statements delivered by Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Pacific as well as statements from several European states.
Resistance continued to come throughout the working group from a small group of states who continued to argue that nuclear weapons are essential to their national security.
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.
After long deliberations, it seemed that States were going to agree to a compromised report which reflected the views of both sides of the ban treaty issue. However, after this agreement had seemingly been secured behind closed doors, Australia made a last-second turnaround and 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.
This breakthrough is result of the new global discourse on nuclear weapons. Bringing together governments, academia and civil society, a series of three conferences have uncovered new evidence about the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the risks of their use, whether accidental or intentional.
The momentum generated by the “humanitarian initiative” has now culminated with the international community on the verge of negotiating a nuclear weapons ban.
Nuclear weapons remain the only weapons of mass destruction not yet prohibited under international law, despite their inhumane and indiscriminate nature. A ban would not only make it illegal for nations to use or possess nuclear weapons; it would also help pave the way to their complete elimination. Nations committed to reaching the goal of abolition have shown that they are ready to start negotiations next year.
It is now up to the October meeting of the UN General Assembly First Committee to bring forward this process by issuing a mandate to start the negotiating process.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a global campaign coalition working to mobilize people in all countries to inspire, persuade and pressure their governments to initiate negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
Stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons
Nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not yet explicitly prohibited under international law. The Humanitarian Pledge is a commitment by nations to fill this unacceptable “legal gap”. It offers a platform from which they can – and must – launch negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
The Pledge was issued on 9 December 2014 at the conclusion of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, attended by 158 nations. This important document provides governments with the opportunity to move beyond fact-based discussions on the effects of nuclear weapons to the start of treaty negotiations.
Outlawing nuclear weapons is not a radical proposition: it enjoys widespread support among nations, and is the logical and necessary course of action in light of the indiscriminate and catastrophic effects of any use of these weapons. ICAN is calling on all nations to endorse the Pledge and join negotiations for a ban.
On 7 December 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Pledge in the form of Resolution 70/48. Of the 168 nations that cast a vote, 139 (83%) were in favour. The full voting result is available here.
The following 127 nations have formally endorsed the Pledge:
5. Antigua and Barbuda
17. Burkina Faso
19. Cabo Verde
21. Central African Republic
26. Congo, Democratic Republic of
27. Congo, Republic of
28. Cook Islands
29. Costa Rica
30. Côte d’Ivoire
35. Dominican Republic
38. El Salvador
73. Marshall Islands
88. Papua New Guinea
93. St Kitts and Nevis
94. St Lucia
95. St Vincent and the Grenadines
97. San Marino
98. Sao Tome and Príncipe
99. Saudi Arabia
103. Sierra Leone
106. South Africa
107. Sri Lanka
116. Trinidad and Tobago
120. United Arab Emirates
124. Viet Nam
Latest endorsers: Algeria, Mali, Gambia, Oman, Sudan, Cambodia
In addition, the following 22 nations voted in favour of the Pledge resolution:
6. Equatorial Guinea
14. New Zealand
16. Solomon Islands
Last updated: 10 March 2016