Overwhelming Majority: Ban the Bomb in 2017

Image: Foto © Xanthe Hall

August 22, 2016

Last week 107 states supported a proposal to start negotiations next year for a new treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

The United Nations Open-ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament (OEWG) concluded with an overwhelming majority of governments making a clear recommendation to start negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons. It is now up to the October meeting of the UN General Assembly First Committee to bring forward this process by issuing a mandate to start the negotiating process.

Nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction that are not outlawed by international treaty. This breakthrough is result of the new global discourse on nuclear weapons. Since Norway hosted the first conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in 2013, the effect of the weapons on humans and the environment has taken center stage. These brought together governments, academia and civil society for fact based examination of what the weapons can do- and what can be done to mitigate their effect. The result was: nothing. The conferences found that there is no way to recover from any use of nuclear weapons in populated areas, and no way to prevent the damage from crossing borders.

An international ban treaty would not only make it illegal for nations to use or possess nuclear weapons; it would also help pave the way to their complete elimination. Nations committed to reaching the goal of abolition have shown that they are ready to start negotiations in 2017. The overwhelming majority is now ready to ban the bomb.

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