A treaty banning all nuclear weapon was adopted today at the UN in New York. “It’s a historic day,” says Krista van Velzen, campaign leader for PAX.
“PAX played a leading role in the realization of this international treaty. And today, in the presence of so many of the world’s countries, NGOs and survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to hear the president of the negotiations say that the international treaty has been adopted is indescribable.”
The treaty to ban nuclear weapons has broad support. Two thirds of all the countries of the world took part in the negotiations at the UN in New York in the last few weeks. The Netherlands was the only NATO country present during the negotiations. At the last minute, however, The Netherlands called for a recorded vote on the treaty, and proceeded to cast the one and only vote against the ban. Singapore abstained from voting. The other 122 countries present voted for the ban. A number of European countries voted for the ban, including Austria, Cyprus the Holy See, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Malta, the Republic of Moldova, San Marino, Sweden and Switzerland.
Enough is Enough
Countries with nuclear weapons capability have managed for decades to keep the tempo of nuclear disarmament to a snail’s pace. Many are currently modernizing their nuclear arsenals. But now 122 countries have said enough is enough. PAX’s Krista van Velzen says “Given the horrendous humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, no country should have the right to develop, posses, let alone use, these weapons. The treaty adopted today is a clear signal to the nine countries with nuclear weapons and their allies that the rest of the world considers their behaviour not only immoral, but also illegal.”
The treaty forbids every form of assistance for the production or maintenance of nuclear weapons. Many countries consider financial investments in nuclear weapons a form of assistance. For many years PAX has led an international campaign against these types of investments. PAX expects the stigmatizing effect of this treaty to lead to a decrease in investments in production and maintenance of these weapons.
PAX is extremely pleased that after 72 years, a nuclear weapons ban is at long last a reality.
Photo: © ICAN