New Zealand announces continuation of the humanitarian initiative

September 16, 2013

16 September 2013

During a side event organised by ICAN at the fourth meeting of state parties to the Cluster Munitions Convention in Lusaka last Thursday, Dell Higgie, New Zealand’s ambassador for disarmament in Geneva and one of the panellists at the side event, said that New Zealand plans to coordinate and deliver a joint statement on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons during the United Nations General Assembly in October.

In recent years, joint statements expressing concern at the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons have been delivered by different states at the 2012 Preparatory Committee of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT PrepCom) in Vienna, the 2012 First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, and most recently at the NPT PrepCom in Geneva this year. The number of states who have chosen to associate themselves with these statements has increased rapidly from a mere sixteen in May 2012, to eighty a year later.

“ICAN is very happy to hear that New Zealand has decided to pursue the humanitarian initiative. In the coming months, we will mobilise our campaigners to ensure that a strong and forward-looking humanitarian statement is delivered”, says Beatrice Fihn, member of ICAN International Steering Group, “Momentum is growing and civil society is ready to support the efforts of non-nuclear weapon states to achieve what is long overdue: a ban on nuclear weapons”.

ICAN’s side event in Lusaka on Thursday was attended by a high number of state representatives and civil society organisations working in the field of humanitarian disarmament.

María Antoníeta Jáquez from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the audience about the upcoming conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, scheduled for February 2014, while Hector Guerra from SEHLAC and ICAN in Mexico, Robert Mtonga from IPPNW Zambia and Roos Boer from IKV Pax Christi Netherlands talked about what their organisations are doing to increase support for the humanitarian initiative and a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

“It is very encouraging to see that many states and organisations working mainly on cluster munitions are interested in the humanitarian initiative that is now unfolding in the field of nuclear weapons. We in ICAN see cluster munitions and nuclear weapons as part of a bigger set of issues that are bound together by a group of actors from civil society, international organisations and states that are working to strengthen humanitarian principles, and their influence, in international politics”, says Magnus Løvold, who represented ICAN at the side event.


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