Start negotiations on a total, worldwide ban on all nuclear weapons. A resolution calling for such negotiations has been submitted to the United Nations General Assembly. Later this month, the UN body is expected to pass this resolution. When it does, it will make history, bringing a global nuclear weapons ban a step closer to becoming reality.
The resolution, written and submitted by Austria, Mexico, Ireland, Nigeria, South Africa and Brazil, calls for negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons to begin in 2017. During a UN meeting on nuclear weapons in August, a large majority of countries decided that now is the time to begin these negotiations. But first the plan has to go before the UN General Assembly.
A PAX priority
For years, PAX has been working towards a nuclear weapons ban, both at the national level here in the Netherlands as well as a global ban. PAX is one of the driving forces behind ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
“History is being written with this resolution,” says Freek Landmeter, director at PAX. “Something that long seemed impossible has become reality: a treaty banning the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction of them all. The use of these weapons has had catastrophic effects on civilians, for generations. This resolution paves the way for a nuclear-weapons-free world.”
The UN will vote on the resolution at the end of October. It is not yet clear how the Netherlands will vote. In April of this year, the Dutch parliament held a debate on a national nuclear weapons ban. The debate was the result of a citizens’ initiative spearheaded by PAX. During the debate, parliament adopted a resolution urging the government to call for negotiations on a global nuclear weapons ban.
Freek Landmeter: “Parliament wants a global ban, a majority of the Dutch public wants to be rid of nuclear weapons, just like most UN member states. The government has always voiced its support for a nuclear-weapons-free world. The Netherlands now has the chance to join the majority of countries who want to move forward and ban these weapons. The government can’t let this unique chance pass by.” Twenty US nuclear missiles are to this day stationed at the Dutch Volkel air base.