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Live Blog: International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons 2019

September 26th is the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, and it’s going to be a big day. All around the world, ICAN campaigners will be marking the occasion with activities calling for the end of these inhumane immoral weapons, and promoting the UN Treaty that will end them. And at 17:00 EDT, in the United Nations Headquarters in New York, a high level ceremony for the signature and ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will take place.

Tune into the livestream here at 17:00 EDT ⬇

Tune into the livestream here at 17:00 EDT ⬆

For governments: Find more practical information about the Ceremony

The High-Level Ceremony will be hosted by Austria, Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa and Thailand, states which have historically been at the forefront of the process towards the adoption and entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Other events to mark International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

The UNGA will also be marking the International Day with a plenary event where nations and representatives of civil society will speak to the urgency of ending nuclear weapons for good. Campaigner Mitchie Takeuchi, second generation Hibakusha and granddaughter to the director of the Red Cross hospital in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing, will deliver ICAN’s statement.

 

 Tune in to the UNGA Livestream 

In addition to the events in New York, ICAN campaigners around the world will also be marking the occasion with a variety of activities. Follow the different events happening around the world:

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Nobel Peace Laureates Summit stresses the urgent need to prevent nuclear war

“As Nobel Peace Laureates we have repeatedly warned of the catastrophic consequences of nuclear war and are compelled to do so once again.” This week Nobel Peace Laureates and Peace Laureate Organisations gathered at 17th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Yucatán, Mexico. In Make Your Mark For Peace, the final declaration of the summit, the Laureates and Laureate organisations set out a list of priorities for nuclear disarmament and demilitarisation, including a resounding endorsement for the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Read the Full Declaration here

During the summit, members of ICAN’s steering group Maria Eugenia Villareal (SEHLAC) and Ira Helfand (IPPNW, Nobel Peace Prize 1985) spoke passionately about the catastrophic threat posed by nuclear weapons, the role of civil society must play in ending them, and the importance of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The entire panel “Four priorities for Nuclear Disarmament” can be viewed below:

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A movement’s symbol for a world without nuclear weapons

On International Peace Day 2019, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is providing a sneak peek at its updated look and feel (which will roll out before the end of the year) and diving deep into the history of its iconic logo. 

The icon, a repentant nuclear missile locked in a peace symbol, was designed for ICAN by Australian artist Neil Campbell and inspired by the symbolic artwork of Peter Kennard and Gerald Holtom and the millions of people around the world who rallied behind the movements for peace and an end of nuclear weapons. This is a brief history of its origins:

 Eric Austen, first CND badge. Source: https://cnduk.org/the-symbol/1958: British artist Gerald Holtom designs a symbol for the Alderton march against nuclear war.The logo was a combination of the letters “N” (two arms outstretched pointing down at 45 degrees) and “D” (one arm upraised above the head) of the flag semaphore alphabet, and quickly became the symbol of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. But more than that, the symbol quickly travelled around the world, becoming an international emblem for anti-war movements, and universally associated with Peace to this day.

Read more about the origins of the Peace symbol via CND UK

 

Schematic illustrating the semaphore origins of the Peace Symbol. Read more on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_symbols#Peace_symbol

 

 

Peter Kennard: Broken Missile 1980: Peter Kennard’s Broken Missile.

This powerful piece of protest art – currently in the Tate Modern museum in London – quickly became a symbol for the movement against the modernisation of the Trident nuclear weapons systems. But above all, it became a symbol for the people’s power agains these inhumane, immoral weapons “ The Crushed Missile photomontage aims to show that it is only protest by the people that can stop the missiles of destruction. Presidents, prime ministers and dictators won’t wash their hands of nuclear weapons unless we campaign against them.”

Read more about Peter Kennard’s work and inspiration
Explore Peter Kennard’s impressive nuclear-disarmament art

 

 


2006: Australian designer Neil Campbell and ICAN Co-founder Dr Bill Williams create a logo for ICAN.  
Inspired by the iconic works of Holtom and Kennard, Bill & Neil created a logo for the newly founded organization that would grow into a symbol for a worldwide movement to promote a global treaty banning nuclear weapons.As Neil Campbell says: “This little visual message was designed by myself and Bill paying homage to, and expanding the life of Gerald’s remarkable symbol – whilst paying cheeky tribute to Peter Kennard … a team effort really.”

Read Neil Campbell’s full story about the logo’s history and significance (PDF)

Since its inception the icon has been freely adopted by partner organisations and campaigners across the world. At times it has been adapted for use on video, printed materials, products and banners, sometimes with slight alterations to colour and form (solid colours, outlines, etc) but the fundamental design remains.

 

 2019: ICAN’s updated look and feel

ICAN Logo 2019

After ICAN achieves a historic milestone in 2017, the successful negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and receives the Nobel Peace Prize as a recognition for its role in making this Treaty a reality, the campaign turns all its energies into achieving the Treaty’s rapid entry into force, stigmatising nuclear weapons, and empowering people all over the world to take action against them. In 2019, this includes working on an updated, consistent look and feel that reflects the campaign ICAN is and needs to be in order to end nuclear weapons, as well as modern, fit for purpose website. And this International Peace Day, ICAN is lifting the veil on that crucial component of any look and feel: the logo, which remains largely unchanged, in order to honour the long-standing history of this powerful icon, which has meant so much to everyone that has worked on this campaign over the years, and will continue to inspire and symbolise our work to end nuclear weapons.

Join the movement

Both the new look and the new website will be rolled over the coming months, but ICAN campaigners can already access the new styleguide on request.

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New Study on US-Russia nuclear war: 91.5 million casualties in first few hours

34.1 million people could die, and another 57.4 million could be injured, within the first few hours of the start of a nuclear war between Russia and the United States triggered by one low-yield nuclear weapon, according to a new simulation by researcher’s at Princeton‘s Science and Global Security programme.


 Read more about Princeton’s simulation 

But that’s not all. The overall death toll would be even higher due to long-term consequences of a nuclear war, including radioactive fallout and global cooling of the Earth’s atmosphere, researchers add. Even a limited nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan could put one billion people at risk of starvation and another 1.3 billion at risk of severe food insecurity due to global cooling, according to a 2013 study by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

The Princeton simulation, ironically entitled “Plan A,” comes as the United States works to develop brand new low-yield nuclear weapons, despite the opposition of leading Democratic members of Congress, and demonstrates that even lower-yield nuclear weapons can have devastating consequences.

The researchers used independent assessments of current U.S. and Russian nuclear force postures, including the number of warheads deployed and their yields, war plans and targets to create the simulation.

Equally alarming as the casualty toll of this nuclear war simulation is the growing probability that it becomes a reality.

“The risk of nuclear war has increased dramatically in the past two years as the United States and Russia have abandoned long-standing nuclear arms control treaties, started to develop new kinds of nuclear weapons and expanded the circumstances in which they might use nuclear weapons,” wrote the Princeton researchers on the project website.

“‘Plan A’ shows that there is no sane plan once a nuclear weapon is launched,” said Alicia Sanders-Zakre, Policy and Research Coordinator at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. “A better plan is to reject nightmare nuclear scenarios and support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”

Join the movement to end nuclear weapons

 

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New cross-party working group to support TPNW in German Parliament

Support for the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) keeps growing in the German Parliament. After 166 federal and over 200 regional parliamentarians pledged their support for the TPNW through the ICAN Parliamentary Appeal, a new cross-party working group for the abolition of nuclear weapons had their first meeting on Wednesday. 

The “Parlamentskreis Atomwaffenverbot” arose because 25 Members of the Bundestag felt the need for a forum to bring together the many MPs who are working towards Germany signing the prohibition of nuclear weapons. While they may not have a majority in Parliament, 166 already sign the ICAN Parliamentary Appeal. Counting also the German parliamentarians at regional and EU level, 507 have signed the appeal as of now.

 

While the Government is still hesitant, at the federal, regional and European levels, German politicians are increasingly demanding that Berlin sign on to the Treaty. Three regional governments have recently endorsed this call, including the State of Rheinland-Pfalz, which currently hosts around 20 US nuclear weapons. The state prime minister Malu Dreyer, currently one of two acting Chairs of the SPD, took the initiative after Berlin and Bremen had already done so.

Beyond the three federal states, almost 50 cities have already signed on to the ICAN Cities Appeal, including Munich, Cologne, and the regional capitals of Potsdam, Wiesbaden, Mainz, Hannover, Schwerin and Düsseldorf.

Katja Keul, one of the group’s initiators and representative of the German Greens, said to TAZ-newspaper that “The long-term goal must be that Germany joins the nuclear weapons ban treaty.” While the co-initiators Ralf Kapschack and Kathrin Vogel are Social Democrats and from the Left Party respectively, the founding meeting was also attended by conservative law-makers, including Michael Zimmer.

Leo Hoffmann-Axthelm represented ICAN at the launch event in the German Bundestag, noting that “with the Government playing for time on nuclear disarmament, this kind of parliamentary initiative is crucial to create a debate about our reliance on weapons of mass destruction. We need to bring the government’s position closer to citizens, who overwhelmingly demand the prohibition of nuclear weapons and their withdrawal from Germany.”

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN welcomed the new initiative as a great example of elected officials standing up to end nuclear weapons.  “When the threat of nuclear use is increasing, we’re seeing parliamentarians across the world taking action to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. ICAN looks forward to working with this group of German MPs to get the German government to sign the TPNW”

Going forward, the parliamentary intergroup expects to meet twice yearly, keep members updated about the ratification progress of the Treaty in other European states and putting in place the deliberative space and strategic thinking required to move Germany closer towards the signature of TPNW, inviting experts, activists, and increasing the pressure on the Foreign Minister to better justify the Government’s hesitance.

Photos: Katja-keul.de

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Bolivia’s ratification brings Nuclear Ban Treaty halfway to entry into force

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted in 2017, is now halfway towards entering into force. This important milestone was reached on 6 August, the anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima, when Bolivia became the 25th nation to ratify the treaty.

“I am thrilled and excited to hear this news,” reacted Hiroshima A-bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow. “We atomic bomb survivors, the Hibakusha, have told the world of the ultimate evil of nuclear weapons, through sharing our own experiences and suffering. This contributed to the international recognition of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, which led to the adoption of the nuclear ban treaty at the United Nations on July 7, 2017. Two years later on this day, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the number of countries who accept this legal norm has reached half of 50 – the number needed to enter into force. As someone who experienced the unspeakable horrors of the atomic bomb 74 years ago to this day, as just a young 13-year-old girl, there is no greater pleasure.” Read Setsuko Thurlow’s full statement, in English and Japanese, here.

“It is fitting that this important milestone was reached on the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima,” said ICAN’s Executive Director, Beatrice Fihn. “With the recent collapse of the INF treaty, the US withdrawal from the Iran deal, and the increased modernization programmes of nuclear arsenals, this is an important signal from countries around the world that nuclear weapons cannot in any way be legitimate for any nation. Responsible nations are stepping up to push for the complete prohibition and elimination of these weapons of mass destruction.”

Rapid progress towards entry into force

A total of 50 ratifications are needed for the treaty to become binding international law.

Latin American countries are leading the way in ratifying the treaty. Nine countries in the region have now ratified it — Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Uruguay and Venezuela — while the rest are signatories, with the exception of Argentina.

Later this year, Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Sacha Llorentty Solíz, will become chair of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, a forum that deals with disarmament and international security. Bolivia’s ratification of this treaty shows that it takes disarmament seriously and is well qualified to perform this leadership role.

ICAN partner organization Bolivian Women’s Efforts welcomed the ratification, saying that it reflected Bolivia’s longstanding commitment to achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world. SEHLAC (Seguridad Humana en Latinoamérica y el Caribe), which is also part of ICAN, has been actively promoting adherence to the treaty across Latin America and the Caribbean.

“With hope that the number of states submitting their instruments of ratification to the United Nations continues to grow, the Hibakusha will make all efforts to progress as soon as possible to a world free of nuclear weapons,” commented the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations Nihon Hidankyo. Read the full statement by Nihon Hidankyo here.

The United Nations will convene a high-level ceremony in New York on 26 September at which several nations from different regions of the world are expected to sign and ratify the treaty. ICAN will continue to call on all leaders to join this treaty without delay, as nuclear weapons are not in any way a legitimate form of defence and have catastrophic humanitarian consequences.

 

 

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Hiroshima-ICAN Academy on nuclear weapons and global security

On July 31st, 2019, Hiroshima Prefecture and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) have proudly launched the “Hiroshima-ICAN Academy on Nuclear Weapons and Global Security.” Over the coming 8 days, 15 students and young professionals(25 years of age or younger) will participate in an intensive program designed to teach them everything they need to know to become the next generation of advocates for an end to nuclear weapons.

Follow the Daily Updates from Hiroshima Prefecture

What will  the Hiroshima- ICAN Academy cover?

Through fieldwork, lectures and a group challenge, the participants will:

  • Understand the reality of the atomic bombing, such as the inhumanity of nuclear weapons and health effects of radiation, through testimonies and participation in the Peace Memorial Ceremony.
  • Learn about global trends on nuclear weapons and global security, through exchange with UN officials, diplomats, and NGO members.
  • Acquire necessary skills and innovative visions for concretely contributing, in the global arena, towards realizing a peaceful world.
  • Engage with and learn from UN officials, diplomats, and NGO members. a group of  nurture future leaders who could make concrete contributions towards realizing a peaceful world.

Updates from the Academy

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A big step backwards: Why Sweden’s decision not to sign TPNW damages its reputation as a leader on disarmament

At a press conference on Friday July 12th, 2019, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom announced that Sweden will not currently sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). This is a disappointing decision that damages Sweden’s historic reputation as a leader on disarmament.

“Sweden’s decision today is a step backwards and a historic violation of Swedish security policy,“ says Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN, and a Swedish national. “The UN has said that the risk of use of nuclear weapons is the highest it has been since WWII. By failing to fully reject the use and possession nuclear weapons through the TPNW, Sweden has gone against its own long tradition of standing up against these weapons of mass destruction. While the initiatives announced at the press conference, like starting a knowledge centre and proposing an international secretariat for disarmament are welcomed, it falls very short of concrete steps to combat the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose today. This move seriously harms Sweden’s reputation as a leader on disarmament.

Setsuko Thurlow, ICAN activist and survivor of the Hiroshima bombing in 1945, responded: “Foreign minister Margot Wallström of Sweden said at a press briefing on July 12 that the government “will, as it stands now, not sign” the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). I am truly disappointed to hear the news. I am deeply disheartened.  Sweden has a strong history of supporting humanitarian causes and disarmament. In the past, I have had the honor to meet with FM Wallström and discuss humanitarian imperative to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. Indeed, I cannot emphasize enough how much Sweden’s vote in support to adopt the TPNW in July 2017 encouraged us the Hibakusha.  I urge the government of Sweden to reconsider the decision. We the Hibakusha and the civil society at large expect Sweden to listen to our voice and show the commitment to work towards signing and ratifying the TPNW.

The announcement follows a scandal-ridden consultation period, after the methodology used by former Swedish diplomat Lars-Erik Lundin for his inquiry into whether Sweden should sign the TPNW was heavily criticised for its lack of transparency. The decision has already been met with much criticism in Sweden, prompting critical questions during the press conference and a flurry of negative media coverage. In response, the government has clarified that it would be open to revisiting the decision if the international context changes.

The decision is also widely unpopular with the Swedish people.  ICAN campaigners in Sweden have announced they will scale up their efforts to hold the Swedish government accountable to its own position on nuclear disarmament and will keep mobilising to ensure that Sweden signs the treaty.

Photo: IKFF Sverige 

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NEW RESOURCE: Campaigners Guide to Signature and Ratification of the TPNW

On July 7th, 2017, the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by the 122 nations in the UN.  Today, ICAN is marking the second anniversary by releasing a new campaigner’s guide to the signature and ratification of the TPNW.

Check out the Campaigners Guide

 

What is in this Campaigners’ guide?

This in-depth guide, full of suggestions for actions our campaigners – and anybody who supports the treaty – can take to encourage their country to sign and ratify the treaty. We hope it will empower our incredible campaigners to achieve even more successes, and that it inspires others supporters to take action at a national level as well!

Why launch the Guide on the Treaty’s anniversary?

The TPNW was achieved through the determination and coordinated efforts of campaigners, allies and supporters all around the world.  Over the past two years, ICAN campaigners have kept pushing to promote the Treaty and stigmatise nuclear weapons. And it’s working: the Treaty has already achieved 23 ratifications (and 70 signatures) of the fifty ratifications needed for its entry into force. We’re almost halfway there.

But when it comes to ending nuclear weapons, there’s no such thing as too much support. That is why we are rolling out this guide, to empower anybody who wants to take action to do so!

Check out the Campaigners Guide

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Caribbean experts gather to explore region’s role in supporting the NuclearBan Treaty

On June 19th and 20th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana and ICAN are convening a Caribbean Regional Forum on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to take stock of the Treaty from a regional perspective, and to canvas progress for the early signature and ratification by all countries in the region.

The meeting will bring together experts from member-states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in a range of fields including infrastructure, nuclear disarmament and foreign policy, and enable them to exchange with civil society including the Red Cross and ICAN on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the practicalities of supporting the Treaty that bans them.

Follow the updates from the regional meeting here:

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