The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons has been commemorated annually since it was declared in 2013. The day provides an opportunity for states to recommit to the priority of nuclear disarmament. The 2022 day included a General Assembly high level session and hundreds of civil society events across the world.
At UN headquarters, the UN Secretary General António Guterres started the session saying “We come together on this international day to speak with one voice. To stand in defense of our world — and our future. And to reject the claim that nuclear disarmament is some impossible utopian dream.”
A majority of the countries that spoke welcomed the successful conclusion of the TPNW first meeting of states parties, including Lesotho, Cuba, Cote d’Ivoire, Trinidad and Tobago, Burkina Faso, Namibia, the Philippines, and the Non Aligned Movement (among others).
Many states also addressed the urgency of eliminating nuclear weapons in the face of the current state of elevated risk. In assessing the state of affairs, Ghana’s delegation declared that nuclear weapons “do not guarantee national security, neither can they assure global strategic stability,” adding that they “continue to pose an existential threat to the world as we have seen with the nuclear situation in the Middle East, the escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula, and the aggression against Ukraine, which leave all of us in no doubt that the nuclear doctrines of the past are not valid.”
In recalling the humanitarian impacts of past nuclear weapon testing in the Pacific, Kiribati’s President, Taneti Maamau, called for the establishment of an international trust fund for states parties affected by the use or testing of nuclear weapons. This is one of the key considerations and follow-on actions emerging from the TPNW first meeting of states parties, earlier this year, and according to Maamau “would be essential in implementing Articles VI and VII of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”
Elsewhere in the world ICAN partners took action to commemorate the day as well. Highlights include:
- Campaigners in Australia welcomed the statement from ten federal independent parliamentarians urging the new Labor Government to progress its pre-election commitment to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
- In Sweden, an installation of Amnesia Atomica by artist Pedro Reyes accompanied a manifestation held at the Swedish parliament.
- Delivering letters to bank managers at Wells Fargo and Bank of America, Norfolk Catholic Worker and Pax Christi Hampton Roads linked the continued financing of nuclear weapons companies and ongoing investment in fossil-fuels projects saying “Budgets are moral documents. It is time to demand that these financial institutions invest in infrastructure that supports life and health for all!”
- ICAN campaigners in Scotland stood on cold and rainy streets in front of NatWest bank branches and the Edinburgh University library handing out leaflets to customers and passersby. While across the UK CND partners took action at Rolls Royce, and UK Atomic Weapons establishments to draw attention to emerging nuclear dangers.
- Across the U.S. campaigners held protest actions at nuclear weapon manufacturers Lockheed Martin and Raytheon and the Veterans for Peace project “the Golden Rule” set sail along the Mississippi River to raise awareness about nuclear threats and the TPNW.