Published on March 17th, 2017 | by Susi Snyder


2 weeks to go: Including investment

Less than two weeks until negotiations begin, and I wanted to build on the previous posts on making, getting, having, using and helping with nuclear weapons by elaborating a bit on the financial discussion.

My colleague Maaike and I wrote a paper which looks at how to reinforce the prohibition on assistance by including an explicit prohibition on investments in companies producing nuclear weapons, and examines what such language could look like. The main benefit is of course making explicit the growing understanding in international law that financing constitutes a form of assistance.

The paper looks at why an explicit mention of investment or financing should be included, as well as positive examples of how stopping investment in weapons producers helps end the production of the weapons.

We also looked at relationship with other instruments of international law- from Nuclear Weapon Free Zone treaties to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

All in all, we found that although existing conventions and treaties prohibiting inhumane and indiscriminate weapons do not contain explicit prohibitions on financing, there is a growing understanding that financing is a form of prohibited assistance. This is shown by state practice around the Convention on Cluster Munitions,  the rationale behind the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the practice of financial institutions from countries that have joined Nuclear Weapon Free Zone treaties. Including an explicit prohibition on financing in a nuclear weapons ban treaty will make this understanding explicit, and thereby build on existing international law. It will strengthen and make more effective the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty by limiting the flow of capital to the companies involved in nuclear arsenals of states that remain outside of the new treaty. It would also be in line with the intents and purpose driving the nuclear ban treaty, so that it not only effectively prohibits these weapons but also extends the logic of outlawing nuclear weapons to the financial sector.

Download the full paper here.

About the Author

Susi is the project lead for the PAX No Nukes project, she also coordinates the Don’t Bank on the Bomb research and campaign. She is an expert on nuclear weapons, with over two decades experience working at the intersect between nuclear weapons and human rights. In addition to the annual Don't Bank on the Bomb reports, Susi has published numerous reports and articles, including Banned but Allied: Next steps for NATO Alliance members after the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (2018); Escalating tensions: The perfect time to negotiate the outlaw and elimination of nuclear weapons(2015); Dealing with a ban (2015); The Rotterdam Blast: The immediate humanitarian consequences of a 12 kiloton nuclear explosion (2014); ‘Disarm, dismantle and make a profit: A cost-benefit analysis of nuclear modernisation versus nuclear disarmament’ (2013), and Withdrawal Issues: What NATO countries say about the future of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe (2011). She represents PAX on the International Steering Group of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Susi is a 2016 Nuclear Free Future Award Laureate. Previously, Mrs. Snyder served as the Secretary General of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) at their Geneva secretariat, and she is still President of the WILPF United Nations Office. She was named Hero of Las Vegas in 2001 for her work with Indigenous populations against US nuclear weapons development and nuclear waste dumping. Susi currently lives in Utrecht, the Netherlands with her husband and son.

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