Dutch campaigners push for a national nuclear weapons ban
January 23, 2015
Last year, Dutch peace organization and ICAN partner, PAX, launched a public campaign to initiate the creation of national legislation to outlaw nuclear weapons. The campaign, which requires the signatures of 40,000 Dutch citizens, is currently halfway to its goal.
The campaign has been successful in bringing the dangers of nuclear weapons to the attention of the general public, and has attracted the participation of ASN Bank and the Dutch Red Cross. To continue the success of the initiative and further motivate campaigners, PAX has launched The Battle. The Battle is a competition where campaigners work to gather the most signatures for the petition. The campaigner with the most signatures collected will be invited to Japan to participate in the 70th anniversary commemoration of the bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a pivotal anniversary highlighting the need for immediate nuclear disarmament.
The success of the petition has demonstrated broad support for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and citizens’ demands that the Netherlands takes a leading role in this process. The focus on domestic mobilization is particularly important after the third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons which recently took place in Vienna. At the conclusion of the conference, Austrian Ambassador Alexander Kmentt presented the Austrian Pledge, a commitment to “identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition of nuclear weapons.” In order to make meaningful progress on nuclear disarmament internationally, states must individually commit to promoting progress in this area, bolstered by the work of domestic organisations and civil society.
Susi Snyder, Programme Manager for Nuclear Disarmament at PAX, reaffirmed the importance of domestic mobilisation to drive states to respond. “By working towards a national ban, PAX is demanding that the Netherlands firmly reject nuclear weapons and demand disarmament”, says Snyder. “PAX is building support from the Dutch population for the Netherlands to fill the legal gap on nuclear weapons starting at home.”
To sign the petition, visit Teken Tegen Kernwapens