Negotiations to Ban Nuclear Weapons, Lars Pohlmeier (former Chair of the Board of IPPNW, Germany), February 2017
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)
Russian Pugwash Committee under the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS)
INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON GLOBAL SECURITY
Moscow, February 21, 2017
former Chair of the Board of IPPNW (Germany)
Negotiations to Ban Nuclear Weapons
The United Nations general assembly recently took a decisive step towards ending one of the most urgent threats to public health and human survival in the world today. UN member states mandated negotiations for 2017 on a new treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons. The dangers posed by these weapons are utterly unacceptable, and the only sure way to prevent an unthinkable catastrophe is to eliminate them completely. To do this is possible, it is essential and it is long overdue.
More than one hundred and thirty states have said with common voice that they are demanding that these weapons be prohibited and abolished. This also sends a clear message to the nuclear-arms states, foremost the United States and Russia, that not fulfilling their legal obligations to abolish nuclear weapons under the non-proliferations. It also sends a clear message in opposition to the massive and expensive nuclear re-armament programs underway in the nuclear weapons states. Again this very much relates to The US/NATO and Russia which are constantly endangering our collective security.
In March 2017 negotiations on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons will begin. Such a ban treaty will create a new and explicit legal, moral and political norm – comparable to the treaty prohibitions that already apply to chemical and biological weapons, antipersonnel landmines, and cluster munitions. A ban treaty will close a legal gap with regard to nuclear weapons by making it unequivocal that no state has a legitimate claim to possess, build, test, deploy, use, or threaten to use them. Nuclear weapons, whose use has the potential to destroy human civilization, are the greatest threat to the security of everyone, including the nations that possess them. This year provides all of us with a new perspective that these weapons will be abolished soon.
This development would not have been possible without the engagement of civil society leading to international conferences first outside the UN on the humanitarian impact of the use of nuclear weapons. Thousands of activists around the globe have contributed to this political process. Every example not only shows that we must abolish nuclear weapons but: We can, you can ICAN abolish nuclear weapons.