Nuclear Abolition News | IPPNW
By JOHN LORETZ
GENEVA (IPPNW) – The number of countries demanding the elimination of nuclear weapons as a humanitarian imperative grew to 74 today, when South Africa read a joint statement on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons on behalf of that many delegations to the 2013 Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee in Geneva.
Declaring that “our countries are deeply concerned about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons,” the States criticized the NPT for ignoring its very reason for existence “for many years,” even though “the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons has increasingly been recognised as a fundamental and global concern that must be at the core of all deliberations on nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.”
Noting the importance of both the 2011 resolution of the Council of Delegates of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the international Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons held in Oslo last month, the joint statement concluded that
No nuclear-weapon state signed the statement—no surprise there. What might raise some eyebrows is that four NATO countries—Denmark, Iceland, Luxembourg, and Norway—did sign, despite the fact that they are members of a major nuclear alliance with the United States. Some other States that participate in extended nuclear deterrence arrangements with the US—Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Australia, for example—were also among the missing.
In today’s issue of the daily newsletter published by Reaching Critical Will during NPT meetings, Ray Acheson reports that the NPT nuclear-weapon states appear to be rattled by all this talk about humanitarian consequences. “They say that these consequences are so well known there is no longer any point in discussing them.” Unfortunately for them, according to Ray, “the majority of other delegations do want to talk about it” [emphasis hardly needs to be added].
The States signing onto this new appeal (not all of them yet listed on the printed version posted to the RCW website) are: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Samoa, Singapore, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Yemen and Zambia.
In May 2012, the first joint statement on humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons was issued by 16 States at the first NPT PrepCom in this review cycle. By October, another 19 had joined them in reissuing the appeal at the UN General Assembly. Now the number is in the mid seventies. It should be even higher by the time of the followup conference to Oslo, expected to be held in Mexico early next year. At this rate, the nuclear-weapon states should be very isolated, very soon. Perhaps it’s time they consider boarding the train to a nuclear-weapons-free world? [IPPNW, April 24, 2013]