The members of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) meeting at the UN in New York have called out the doctrine of nuclear deterrence adhered to by the nuclear-armed states and their allies as a threat to human security and an obstacle to nuclear disarmament.
The members of the TPNW, meeting alongside scientists, the ICRC and ICAN, agreed in the words of the meeting’s declaration: “To challenge the security paradigm based on nuclear deterrence by highlighting and promoting new scientific evidence about the humanitarian consequences and risks of nuclear weapons and juxtaposing this with the risks and assumptions that are inherent in nuclear deterrence.”
Deterrence is an unproven gamble – a theory on which the future of humanity is being risked – that is based on the implicit threat to use nuclear weapons that has brought the world close to nuclear war on a number of occasions.
Member states also heard the testimony of survivors of nuclear use and testing from across the world and agreed to continue working to implement the innovative features of the TPNW on assistance for victims of the use, testing and development of nuclear weapons, as well as cleaning up the contamination from nuclear weapons activities.
This meeting has demonstrated that the TPNW is growing in strength. Several observing states announced their intention to join the treaty in the near term, which will bring the number of states that have either signed, ratified or acceded to the treaty to more than half of all UN members. Indonesia announced that its parliament recently approved ratification of the treaty and Brazil, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique and Nepal announced their intent to ratify soon.
The meeting was also attended by several NATO states and countries that rely on American nuclear weapons in their defence, including Australia, Belgium, Germany and Norway.
The Executive Director of ICAN, Melissa Parke, welcomed the success of the meeting: “The condemnation of nuclear deterrence doctrine by the members of the TPNW at their meeting at the UN in New York is a highly significant move. Never before has a UN treaty laid out the threat that nuclear deterrence poses to the future of life on our planet. Deterrence is unacceptable. It is based on the threat to wage nuclear war which would kill millions outright and lead to a nuclear winter and mass starvation that recent research shows would kill billions of people.”
Ms Parke continued: “This meeting has shown that the TPNW is the only place where international action is being taken on nuclear disarmament. The countries gathered in New York, under the presidency of Mexico, are the responsible states that are working to achieve the widely shared goal of a world without nuclear weapons.”
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