Published on May 18th, 2016 | by Selma van Oostwaard


The Netherlands should actively negotiate an international nuclear weapons ban treaty

The Dutch government must actively work on the start of negotiations on an international treaty banning nuclear weapons. This motion is one of the outcomes of the parliamentary debate on PAX’ citizen’s proposal ‘Ban nuclear weapons in the Netherlands’ (April 28, 2016) and was adopted by a large majority on May 17, 2016.

Several  motions were put forward by parliamentarians during the April debate, and four received majority support during the voting session. In addition to supporting the start of negotiations on an international treaty banning nuclear weapons, parliament also endorsed the proposal to disclose the secret treaties on the basis of which nuclear weapons were placed in the Netherlands. MPs also supported the request to use the unwanted modernization of nuclear weapons in Europe to boost global nuclear disarmament. Lastly, the House called on  the Dutch government to cumulatively rejects its nuclear task in consultation with the United States.

High on the agenda
Krista van Velzen, nuclear disarmament campaigner at PAX is satisfied. “Due to the citizen’s initiative of the Dutch Red Cross, ASN Bank and PAX nuclear disarmament is high on the political agenda. Dutch politicians have a clear and urgent message for the Dutch Government: end the Dutch nuclear task and start negotiations for an international ban.”

Netherlands: advocate for immediate start negotiations
At last week’s meeting of the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on nuclear disarmament, an overwhelming majority of participating countries supported the call to start international negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. However, during this meeting the Netherlands did not show clear  support for the start of negotiations. With the parliament calling for the negotiations for an international ban treaty, the government must adjust its story and should advocate the immediate start of these negotiations. Van Velzen: “The call of more than 45.000 Dutch citizens who signed our proposal to ban nuclear weapons is now reinforced by the parliament. Hence we need to ensure that the Dutch government will listen, and act.”

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About the Author

Selma supports all the disarmament work at PAX with a special emphasis on the No Nukes team. In 2014 she and other PAX disarmament campaigners launched a public campaign in the Netherlands to initiate the creation of national legislation to outlaw nuclear weapons: One of the result of this national campaign is that a vast majority of the House wants the Netherlands to start working internationally for a nuclear weapons ban.

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