Strong showing of global support for upcoming Vienna humanitarian impact conference

November 11, 2014

At the 2014 session of the UN General Assembly’s First Committee in October, more than 180 states voiced their support for the forthcoming Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. This will be the third in a series of conferences to raise awareness about the threat posed by nuclear weapons and to build momentum for nuclear disarmament. The chair of the second conference, held in Mexico in February 2014, proposed a diplomatic process to negotiate a legally binding instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons. ICAN is now urging states to voice their support for such a process, whether or not the nuclear-armed states are willing to participate. Below are extracts from First Committee statements relating to the Vienna conference.

 

Group statements

GROUP STATEMENT
New Zealand-led humanitarian statement “We warmly welcome Austria’s announcement of a third conference [on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons], scheduled for 8–9 December 2014. We firmly believe that it is in the interests of all states to participate in that conference, which aims to further broaden and deepen understanding of this matter, and we welcome civil society’s ongoing engagement.” (155 states)
Non-Aligned Movement
“NAM welcomes the growing focus on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, including at the two conferences in Oslo and Nayarit. In this regard, the Movement looks forward to a successful forthcoming third conference to be held in Austria in December 2014.” (120 states)
African Group
“The African Group welcomes the last two international conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons convened in Norway in 2013, Mexico early this year and looks forward to the third conference to be hosted in Austria in December 2014. The Group further welcomes the call made at the second conference for the development of a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.” (54 states)
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States
“The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States congratulates Mexico for hosting in Nayarit early this year the second international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. We strongly support the conference call for an international legally binding instrument for the prohibition of nuclear weapons. We call all states to participate in the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons to be held in Vienna in December of 2014.” (33 states)
Pacific Small Island Developing States
“The landmark Oslo and Nayarit conferences proved, beyond doubt, that urgent and united action is needed to avert a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented proportions … We look forward to the forthcoming conference in Vienna on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and hope that it will achieve tangible progress.” (13 states)
Australian-led humanitarian statement
“We look forward to a productive and inclusive discussion at the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Vienna, which should contribute to a successful outcome of the NPT Review Conference in 2015.” (20 states)
Caribbean Community
“We look forward to the meeting to be held in December of this year in Austria, as it will provide another opportunity for governments and civil society to begin deliberations on measures geared toward the banning of nuclear weapons.” (14 states)
Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative “Efforts to further deepen our understanding of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons based on fact-based scientific studies are important. We welcome all such efforts, including during the conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Oslo in March 2013, Nayarit in February 2014 and the upcoming conference in Vienna in December this year.” (12 states)
Union of South American Nations
“We strongly support the [Nayarit] conference’s call for an international legally binding instrument for the prohibition of nuclear weapons. We call upon all states, especially nuclear-weapon states, to participate in the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons to be held in Vienna in December of 2014.” (12 states)
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
“We welcome the conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons that were held in Oslo, Norway, and Nayarit, Mexico, and we look forward to a more substantive outcome in the upcoming meeting in Vienna, Austria, in December. These discussions, while academic and fact-based, may eventually lead to the establishment of a legal framework to effectively abolish these deadly weapons.” (10 states)
New Agenda Coalition
“In February this year, Mexico hosted the second international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which aimed at further developing awareness and understanding of the catastrophic consequences of the use of nuclear weapons … We welcome the announcement by Austria to convene a third conference later this year.” (6 states)

 

National statements

NATION STATEMENT
Afghanistan “As highlighted in two previous conferences in Oslo and Nayarit, the catastrophic consequences and humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons are unbearable and should serve as an imperative to prevent any use of these weapons in the future … We are looking forward to the third conference to be held in Vienna in December this year.”
Algeria “My delegation welcomes the convening of conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. Such meetings offer the opportunity of highlighting the irreversible, devastating effects of nuclear weapons and immeasurable suffering caused to human beings.”
Botswana “[We] commend the governments of Norway and Mexico for hosting the conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. We look forward to another round of constructive discussions in Vienna in December.”
Brazil “As the Oslo and Nayarit conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons emphasized, nuclear weapons have long-lasting, devastating, indiscriminate effects … Brazil commends the government of Austria for deciding to host a third conference on the issue and urges the nuclear-weapon states to actively take part in it.”
Cabo Verde
“We are grateful to Mexico for hosting the second international meeting on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons in Nayarit in February 2014, and we welcome the announcement made by Austria to host the next meeting, which will take place on 8–9 December 2014.”
Chile “Chile celebrates and supports the efforts of the process initiated in Oslo, Norway, regarding the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and congratulates Mexico for the organization of the second conference in Nayarit in February of this year. Moreover, we make an appeal to all states to actively participate in the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons to take place in Vienna in December 2014.”
Colombia “It is my desire to underscore Colombia’s support for the initiative of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and we hail the third such conference that will be held in Vienna this year.”
Costa Rica
“We encourage all states to participate at the Vienna conference in a constructive manner, in keeping with the congenial spirit of the Oslo and Nayarit conferences. In support of these goals, we encourage others to endorse the call for the commencement of negotiations on a new legal instrument which would place nuclear weapons on the same legal footing as the other weapons of mass destruction.”
Denmark “We should never lose sight of the catastrophic and unacceptable humanitarian consequences should nuclear weapons ever be used. This issue will be discussed at the conference organized in Vienna by Austria in two months’ time.”
Egypt “We support the call of the Nayarit second conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons for the development of a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons. We urge nuclear-weapon states to actively take part in the third conference in Austria.”
El Salvador
“Our government supports the conclusions of the conferences in Oslo and Nayarit and welcomes the decision by the government of Austria to continue this discussion in Vienna in December 2014 on the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons.”
Germany “These risks and consequences [of a nuclear weapon detonation] will be high on the agenda at the upcoming conference in Vienna. Germany is looking forward to participating in this debate.”
Guatemala “We hope that the upcoming conference to take place in Vienna will continue to build on the momentum of the two previous conferences. Clearly the use of nuclear weapons runs counter to the principles of the UN Charter, and is incompatible with international humanitarian law.”
Holy See
“The third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which will be held in December in Vienna, Austria, is a sobering reminder of the deep frustration of the international community at the lack of speedy progress on nuclear disarmament, and of the inhuman and immoral consequences of the use of weapons of mass destruction.”
Ireland “We look forward to the third international conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons to be held in Vienna in December and warmly commend Austria for taking this initiative in such an open, transparent and inclusive manner.”
Jamaica “Our participation in both the Oslo and Nayarit conferences is evidence of our strong desire to see much-needed progress towards the elimination of nuclear weapons. We, therefore, look forward to participating in the next international conference in Vienna later this year.”
Kazakhstan “We note the great importance of discussions on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear explosions held in Oslo in 2013 and in Mexico this year … We intend to actively participate in the third conference to be held in Vienna in December this year.”
Kenya “Naturally, the talk of banning nuclear weapons is the next logical step. It should not cause anxiety … Kenya looks forward to participating in the conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons to be held in Austria later this year.”
Laos “The Lao People’s Democratic Republic welcomes the conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons held in Oslo, Norway, and Nayarit, Mexico, and will participate constructively in the Vienna meeting on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.”
Lesotho “We welcome the outcomes of the Oslo and Nayarit conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. We look forward to the third conference that will be held in Austria later this year. We are optimistic that these conferences will generate the necessary momentum to push for a legal instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons.”
Madagascar “My delegation welcomes the conferences in Oslo in 2013, Nayarit, Mexico, in February 2014 and the next such conference to be held in Austria in December 2014. This series of conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons should continue to raise awareness that the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee for the preservation of humanity.”
Malaysia “Our call for a nuclear ban treaty is also related to the ongoing narrative on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. Malaysia firmly subscribes to this approach, and we are encouraged by the momentum seen in the increasing recognition of this cause. In this regard, we also welcome the convening of the third international meeting on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, to be held on 8 to 9 December 2014 in Vienna.”
Maldives “The Maldives welcomes the increased attention on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons reflected in the conferences in Oslo last year and Mexico this February. We further welcome Austria’s initiative to host the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in December.”
Mexico “Mexico applauds and supports the decision of the Austrian government to convene the third conference of this kind that will take place in Vienna on 8 and 9 December. Mexico will participate and encourages the entire membership of the UN to attend and continue this process of reflection on the terrible effects of nuclear weapons.”
Montenegro “We welcome the holding of the meetings in Oslo and Nayarit and look forward to the opportunity to further discuss and gain better understanding of this issue at the Vienna conference later this year.”
Morocco “Morocco welcomes the conference process on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and will continue to participate. We hope that the conference in Vienna in 2014 will provide new impetus to this process and contribute towards the realization of a world without nuclear weapons.”
Myanmar “Myanmar was able to attend the Oslo and Nayarit conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. We would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the organizers for facilitating our attendance. We also hope to participate in the third conference to be held in Vienna, Austria, this December.”
Netherlands “The issue of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons will be further discussed at the Vienna conference in December this year. For us, the humanitarian consequences of a nuclear weapon detonation underpins all of our efforts to further the cause of nuclear disarmament.”
New Zealand
“The recent Oslo and Nayarit conferences have strengthened our understanding of the catastrophic effects for human and global security of any nuclear weapon detonation – whether by accident or design – and we look forward to the conference which will be convened by Austria this December.”
Nicaragua “We thank Mexico for hosting the second international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and we strongly support the call made there for an international legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons. We would urge all states to attend the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons to be held in Vienna in December this year.”
Nigeria “My delegation joined several states in welcoming the last international conferences on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons held in Norway and Mexico. We are looking forward to attending the third meeting in Austria in December this year. The logical response and moral watershed is the development of a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.”
Norway “As we prepare for the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, to be hosted by Austria in Vienna this December, will enable further discussion of the humanitarian perspective. We encourage all countries, both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states, as well as other relevant stakeholders, to participate constructively in this important discussion.”
Palau “As the recent conferences in Norway and Mexico on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons starkly demonstrated, we must redouble our efforts to prohibit and eliminate these ultimate weapons of terror and mass destruction. We commend the Norwegian and Mexican governments for their leadership in this initiative and look forward to participating constructively at the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, to be held in Austria this December.”
Peru “Peru highlights the need to support the process on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons started in Norway in March 2013 and continued in Mexico this year, with the second conference held in Nayarit in February. We also welcome the offer of Austria to host the third conference in Vienna in December this year.”
Philippines “The Philippines also lends its strong support to the ongoing humanitarian discourse on the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons. From Oslo to Nayarit, and later this year to Vienna, we see these discussions as productive not only in providing hard facts about the consequences of nuclear weapon detonations to human life and to the environment; but also in terms of leading the way towards a legal framework for the total and complete elimination of these deadly weapons.”
Portugal “It is our expectation that the forthcoming Vienna conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons will provide an inclusive and productive debate on this important matter and effectively contribute to a successful outcome of the 2015 NPT Review Conference.”
Romania “We are all aware that the world outside these walls is paying increased attention to the nuclear disarmament process, with a series of high-level events and conferences being organized in the last couple of years, including the conferences in Oslo and Nayarit, as well as the future one in Vienna, next December, as part of the humanitarian consequences initiative. It is our common duty, therefore, to relentlessly continue our efforts to fully implement the letter and the spirit of the NPT.”
San Marino “We look forward with great expectation to the next NPT Review Conference and to the international conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.”
Senegal “We also highlight the holding of the first two conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, in Oslo in 2013 and Nayarit in February 2014, as well as the next conference planned for Vienna on 8 and 9 December. These meetings reflect our common desire to find appropriate solutions to the eradication of these weapons, which are a constant threat to humanity.”
Singapore “The ongoing discourse on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons is also important. We urge the nuclear-weapon states to participate actively in this discussion, including attending the upcoming conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Vienna in December 2014.”
Slovenia “Slovenia has followed this debate [on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons] with interest since the first conference in Oslo and looks forward to a productive and inclusive discussion at the next conference that will take place in Vienna in early December.”
South Africa
“The two conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons held in Oslo and Nayarit confirmed that no state or international body could adequately address the humanitarian impact of a nuclear weapon’s detonation. South Africa looks forward to Austria’s follow-up conference in December 2014, which will enable us to continue this important dialogue.”
Spain “Aware of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, as reflected in the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, Spain has been closely following the different initiatives developed for the last few years at the international level, such as the Oslo and Nayarit conferences. In this regard, Spain looks forward to the conference on this issue that will be held in Vienna next December.”
Sweden “We look forward to the upcoming conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons to be held in Vienna in December, and we encourage all states, including nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-weapon-possessor states, to participate in this conference.”
Switzerland “The conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, held in Oslo in 2013 and in Nayarit in 2014, clearly demonstrated that the explosion of a single nuclear weapon would have catastrophic consequences. The next conference on this subject in Vienna should enable us to gain greater understanding of this important issue. We encourage all states to take part because the effects of nuclear weapons concern all of us.”
Thailand “We are heartened by the momentum and dynamism created by the international conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons held in Oslo and Nayarit. Having actively participated in both, Thailand welcomes the decision by Austria to host the third conference in Vienna this December and we look forward to participating constructively.”
Turkey “Turkey remains deeply concerned by the possible humanitarian catastrophes for humanity should these lethal weapons ever be used, intentionally or accidentally. We, therefore, supported and actively participated in the Oslo and Nayarit conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. We are looking forward to making further contributions at the third meeting in Vienna in December 2014.”
United Arab Emirates “We hope [that the] increasing awareness on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons through the Oslo and Nayarit conferences and the upcoming conference in Vienna will pave the way towards disarmament of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”
Zambia “Despite the first conference on nuclear disarmament held in Oslo in 2013 and the second conference in Mexico, attended by 146 member states, little progress has been made. Zambia is of the considered view that this session [of First Committee] will open a new window for concerted efforts of positive results when member states gather again during the third conference on nuclear disarmament to be held in Vienna.”

 

Other statements

OFFICE STATEMENT
International Committee of the Red Cross
“The ICRC welcomes the increased attention that states are paying to the humanitarian impact of these weapons, including through the Oslo and Nayarit conferences and the forthcoming Vienna conference. Evidence of the immediate and long-term effects of the use of any nuclear weapon, including as a result of an accidental detonation, confirms that nuclear disarmament remains a humanitarian imperative.”
President of the UN General Assembly “I look forward to the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons that will be held this December in Vienna. Following the second conference held in Mexico, the Vienna meeting will be an opportunity to place the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use at the forefront of the discussions on nuclear disarmament. I am convinced that by focusing on the humanitarian dimensions of nuclear weapons, we can provide greater impetus to achieve nuclear disarmament.”
UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
“Since the 2010 NPT Review Conference, we have seen tremendous new interest in better understanding the humanitarian impact of any use of nuclear weapons. The international conferences in Oslo and Nayarit made invaluable contributions in this regard … I look forward to the third humanitarian conference to be held in Vienna in December. I hope all States decide to attend this conference.”



  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • sheen

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    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

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    Ban Ki-moon Former UN chief

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    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

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