The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today urged nations to act on the recommendation of the UN open-ended working group to convene negotiations in 2017 on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.
Addressing the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the ICRC’s vice-president, Christine Beerli, said that the international community has a “unique opportunity” to achieve a ban on the “most destructive weapon ever invented”.
“The international community now has before it overwhelming evidence of the horrific, long-term and irreversible effects of these weapons on health, the environment, climate and food production,” she said.
“Having recognized these consequences, states now have a responsibility to take decisive action. And they have an unprecedented opportunity to do so, by acting on the recommendation adopted by the UN open-ended working group.”
A prohibition on nuclear weapons is “an indispensable building block in reaching the universal goal of a world free of nuclear weapons”, she said. “As with chemical and biological weapons, unambiguous prohibition is both the foundation for disarmament and a disincentive for proliferation.”
Read full statement here.